This feasibility study aims to enhance services currently available to care recipient/carer couples living with early-stage dementia attending a general medical practice or a Queensland Health memory clinic. Healthcare professionals working in the two settings have been trained and supported to deliver a structured education and support program to the couples. The five program sessions focus on identifying/managing dementia related changes, establishing a support network, and encouraging social outlets. The couple document how they will live well with dementia in their SHARE plan, which they update and share with their family and friends. Post-intervention evaluations show that couples that have completed the program are very satisfied with program content and location, feel better informed, are planning for the future, and have expanded their support networks. These are significant findings as older people living with dementia often try to manage alone until a crisis occurs, at which point choices are limited.
Dr Gillian Stockwell-Smith holds a joint appointment with Griffith University and Gold Coast Health as a Research Fellow sub-acute and aged nursing. Her current research is focused is on exploring and sustaining dyadic care recipient/carer relationships through psychosocial intervention in acute hospital and community settings.