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Early Onset Dementia: Caregivers and Stress
While much research has been conducted on dementia, particularly the supreme focus upon dementia by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), there still is a marked dearth of information regarding early onset dementia (Jefferies & Agrawal, 2009). This is no surprise: dementia is generally viewed as a disease of old age. However, overlooking the significance and implications of Young Onset Dementia are dire. Young Onset Dementia (YOD) is defined affects 2.2% of the population under the age of 65 in the United Kingdom. Yet, there's still reason to believe that this number is actually even higher as 2.2% is simply the sum of the referrals to mental health services; it's more than likely that there are large numbers of undiagnosed members of society with this condition.
Generally, those who are undiagnosed, receive informal caregiving delivered by family-members, organisations such as their church, friends, and neighbours, when they find they are unable to by care for themselves (National Family Caregivers Association, 2002). However, for the clarity of this paper, caregivers will just refer to the spouses of people with YOD. Clinicians who deal with all forms of dementia have often found that caregivers are the "hidden patients" or the "forgotten patients" of this condition as they too are at risk for a host of issues as a result of their stress and burden: depression, stress, social isolation leading to self-medicating their worries with alcohol or other substances (Lane, McKenna, Ryan, et al., 2003). In addition to this, caregivers providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled. Accordingly, 625,000 people have health problems because of these caring responsibilities.
At this time, there is not only a scarcity of awareness in the general medical community, but there is also a lack of relevant services for these individuals -- both those with dementia and those who take care of them. The NICE have acknowledged the impact of dementia on relationship as a central standard of care and more research needs to be conducted (Daniels, Lamson and Hodgson 2007). Moreover, it is imperative that investigators endeavour to heighten our understanding of the lived experience of dementia. Such findings can then be developed into suitable and effective interventions that encourage those with dementia and their relatives, empowering both to live better with the disorder as stipulated by the Department of Health in (2009).
Background, Purpose and Justification of the Study
Dementia is an umbrella term used for a group of symptoms caused by an array of brain disorders. There are several diseases that end in the onset of dementia; however, the most prevalent of these illnesses is Alzheimer's disease. Individuals with (EOD) have different needs from those with late onset dementia (above 65 years). Some of these needs might be the ability to maintain employment during their diagnosis; being responsible for their offspring and responsible to their financial obligations.
Either way, a diagnosis of dementia is a distressing experience. For the person involved, it entails the gradual but unavoidable loss of independence owing to the decline of cognitive and decision- making capabilities, deterioration of physical functions, memory and personal identity. For the caregiver, it entails witnessing the slow loss of the individual whom they have known and cherished their entire lives. As a caregiver, such a process can be truly traumatic, not to mention exhausting. One needs to constantly be planning the care needs for their loved one. EOD patients and careers often are passed on between neurology and psychiatry, and also between elderly care and liaison mental-health services. The responsibility for finding accessible and suitable support is frequently left with the caregivers. This results in preventable postponements, causes unnecessary distress to patients and puts an additional burden on caregivers. Therefore, conducting a study in which caregivers can participate in the exploration and development of support-interventions will provide valuable knowledge which can aid in forming a basis for the planning of different supportive network for both caregivers and (EOD) sufferers.
The inspiration for this research study in EOD began during placement in a mental-health inpatient unit. In addition to witnessing the anguish felt by the patients with EOD and their caregivers, the lack of nursing support was evident. It was well apparent that there needed to be an EOD-focused service which was prominent. An increasing number of authors, researchers and health care professionals have become aware of the need of developing strategies which effectively address the needs of both EOD patients and caregivers.
However, none have examined interventions to meet the needs of both parties and no identified research has used participatory action research as a method. Therefore, future studies which involve both EOD patients and caregivers, are absolutely essential as these studies can explore which services need to be established so as to address this gap of service and knowledge. Understanding these needs is vital in the quest to construct services and enable health professionals or government bodies to strengthen approaches which enhance the quality of life for both caregivers and EOD sufferers. By doing so, a holistic picture of the care needs of an EOD caregiver can be identified and initiatives taken to address those unmet needs. Furthermore, the knowledge from this research can be used to educate health-professionals so that they can foster a better understanding of the most supportive and successful approaches to take.
Formulate a Research Focused Question
The skill of formulating a research question is difficult to learn and at the same time crucial in the endeavour of gathering research and making a decision which is evidence based. Since the author is unskilled in the matter, the Population Intervention Comparison and Outcome framework (PICO) will be applied (Polit and Beck, 2009). The utilization of PICO framework will enable more multifaceted search approaches, produce more detailed search outcomes, and improve conceptual clarity of the problem.
At this time the PICO framework helped to generate the following question: how can participatory action research better explore the need of caregivers who offer care for patients with Early Onset Dementia via participatory action research.
Early-onset, Dementia, carers, perspective, participatory action research, family
An electronic search was carried out on a range of mental health databases. For example, the databases scrutinized were The Summon, Cinhal, Clinical key, Cochrane Library, PubMed and others. The journals that will be looked at will be periodicals like The Gerontologist, Aging and Mental Health, American Journal of Health Behavior, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, and Neuropsychology.
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
When conducting this key word research on the designated database the exclusion criteria involved any research that was conducted before 2005. Also excluded from the research were articles which focused on cases of dementia in the elderly population: this research study seeks to use strictly findings of early onset dementia, even though there is a paucity of material out there. Furthermore, the research includes all studies that were conducted all over the world, as long as they were from the last eight years. Given the fact that there's been little research conducted on this very subject, there was really no choice but to open the study up to overseas research.
Impact of Early Onset Dementia on Caregivers: a review (Vliet, Bakker, Koopmans, et al., 2010)
Vliet and colleagues examined the unmet needs of EOD patients and their caregivers during the various stages of patients during the course of dementia.
This is a longitudinal observational study which used a qualitative design to explore the needs of 215 YOD patients and their caregivers. Assessments which consisted of interviews and questionnaires were completed over a two-year period with patients and caregivers. These findings demonstrated that both the person with YOD and the caregiver faced several problems during the care process, including lengthy diagnosis time, a lack of suitable services, the strain of commitment to care as opposed to the caregiver's personal future standpoint, and the need for individualised health care services (Kaiser & Panegyres, 2007).
This study examined the psychological impact of YOD of on spouses to those with a diagnosis of YOD. A cross sectional analysis using a questionnaire based on the Zarit Burden Interview and the Beck Depression Index was displaced to 120 YOD spouses. 100 of the targeted caregivers were included in the study. It was concluded that the diagnosis of YOD has a great impact on spouses, considered as worries of dependency, concern and a greater level of depression, particularly in the spouses of those with front temporal lobar degeneration.
The Impact of Early Dementia Diagnosis and Intervention on Informal Caregivers (de Vugt and Verhey, 2013).
The authors acknowledge that one of the overwhelming issues with dementia is the fact that there are few disease-modifying therapies for this condition; this naturally brings up the question as to what the benefit and consequences are of pushing for early dementia diagnoses. "An early diagnosis offers caregivers the opportunity to advance the process of adaptation to…[continue]
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