Improving the communication of dementia diagnoses - A pilot study
Neither communicating nor receiving a diagnosis of dementia is an easy process. Studies have shown that good communication can help to mitigate negative outcomes such as poor treatment decisions and reduced psychological adjustment. Research has highlighted the key features of dementia diagnoses communication that help improve outcomes for people with dementia and carers. Such features include demonstrating compassion, considering how directly to disclose, offering opportunities for questions, providing hope, demonstrating awareness and managing dynamics between people with dementia and carers, and providing written information to support understanding. This study aims to (a) review the strategies in place in three multidisciplinary memory clinics, and (b) pilot and evaluate an intervention to improve dementia diagnoses communication in these clinics. Data collection will involve sampling the experiences of clients, carers, and clinicians at feedback sessions before and after the intervention. Data analysis will involve both comparison of numerical results and an analysis of themes raised by people with dementia, carers, and clinicians pre and post intervention. The results of this study are expected to confirm the benefits of diagnostic communication training and contribute to future development of guidelines in delivering a dementia diagnosis.
Bridget Regan is employed as a Senior Neuropsychologist at Eastern Health in the Cognitive, Dementia and Memory Service and is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe University.