Quality home care for persons living with dementia: Personal support workers' perspectives in Ontario, Canada

Health Soc Care Community. 2021 Dec 23. doi: 10.1111/hsc.13692. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

There is a global need to understand how the quality of home care for persons living with dementia is perceived by their most frequent formal caregivers, personal support workers (PSW), especially given the expected rise in the prevalence of dementia. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of PSW regarding what constitutes quality home care for persons with dementia. Qualitative content analysis was undertaken to interpret semi-structured interviews with PSW (N = 15). Study findings indicate that quality home care is perceived to be (1) person-centered; (2) provided by PSW with dementia-specific education and training; (3) facilitated by specific PSW experiences, abilities and characteristics; (4) enhanced by accessible information, services and education for persons with dementia and their caregivers; (5) provided by an inclusive dementia care team; and (6) facilitated by organisational supports and respect. However, findings also indicated differences in what PSW perceive as quality home care versus what they are experiencing when providing care for persons with dementia. Participants advocated for increased supports to them through ongoing dementia-specific education and training, increased teamwork among care providers, increased wages, sufficient and qualified staffing, and increased exchange of client information. The findings highlight the importance of exploring front-line workers' perspectives and how they can help revise current healthcare policies and inform future policy development.

Keywords: Canada; Ontario; dementia; dementia care; healthcare assistants; home care; person-centered care; personal support workers; quality-of-care; workforce issues.