Background: The MEETINGDEM study aims to implement and evaluate an innovative, inclusive, approach to supporting community dwelling people with mild to moderate dementia and their family carers, called the Meeting Centers Support Program (MCSP), in three countries in the European Union (EU): Italy, Poland and United Kingdom. Demonstrated benefits of this person-centered approach, developed in The Netherlands, include high user satisfaction, reduced behavioral and mood problems, delayed admission to residential care, lower levels of caregiving-related stress, higher carer competence, and improved collaboration between care and welfare organizations.
Methods: The project will be carried out over a 36 month period. Project partners in the three countries will utilize, and adapt, strategies and tools developed in the Netherlands. In Phase One (month 1-18) activities will focus on establishing an initiative group of relevant organizations and user representatives in each country, exploring pathways to care and potential facilitators and barriers to implementing the program, and developing country specific implementation plans and materials. In Phase Two (month 19‑36) training will be provided to organizations and staff, after which the meeting centers will be established and evaluated for impact on behavior, mood and quality of life of people with dementia and carers, cost-effectiveness, changes in service use, user satisfaction and implementation process.
Discussion: An overall evaluation will draw together findings from the three countries to develop recommendations for successful implementation of MCSP across the EU. If the Meeting Centers approach can be widely implemented, this could lead to major improvements in dementia care across Europe and beyond.
Trial registration: The trial was retrospectively registered in May 2016: trial number: NTR5936 .
Keywords: Carer competence; Dementia; Effect evaluation; Implementation process; Meeting Centers Support Program; Person-centered approach.