Evaluating the use of participatory action research to implement evidence-based guidance on dementia palliative care in long-term care settings: A creative hermeneutic analysis

Int J Older People Nurs. 2022 Sep;17(5):e12460. doi: 10.1111/opn.12460. Epub 2022 Mar 31.


Background: Dementia affects a large proportion of society and places a significant burden on older people and healthcare systems internationally. Managing symptoms at the end of life for people with dementia is complex. Participatory action research can offer an approach that helps to encourage implementation of evidence-based practices in long-term care settings.

Methods: Three evidence-based guidance documents (pain assessment and management, medication management, nutrition and hydration management) were introduced in three long-term care settings for older people. Data generated from work-based learning groups were analysed using a critical hermeneutic approach to explore the use of participatory action research to support the implementation of guidance documents in these settings.

Results: Engagement and Facilitation emerged as key factors which both enabled and hindered the PAR processes at each study site.

Conclusions: This study adds to the body of knowledge that emphasises the value of participatory action research in enabling practice change. It further identifies key practice development approaches that are necessary to enable a PAR approach to occur in care settings for older people with dementia. The study highlights the need to ensure that dedicated attention is paid to strategies that facilitate key transformations in clinical practice.

Keywords: creative hermeneutic analysis; dementia; palliative care; participatory action research; work-based learning.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dementia*
  • Health Services Research
  • Hermeneutics
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Palliative Care