International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Attitudes of long-term care staff toward dementia and their related factors

Jenny Leea1a2, Elsie Huia1a2, Carolyn Knga3 and Tung Wai Auyeunga4 c1

a1 Geriatrics and Medicine Unit, Shatin Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China

a2 Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

a3 Integrated Medical Services, Ruttonjee Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China

a4 Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Pok Oi Hospital, Yuen Long, Hong Kong SAR, China

ABSTRACT

Background: Attitudes of residential care staff toward residents with dementia affect the quality of care. We examined the attitude of frontline residential care staff toward residents with dementia, and how the presence of specialized care units or programs may affect staff attitude.

Methods: Staff working in nursing homes participated in a survey which covered demographic data, current state of dementia care in workplace, opinion regarding dementia care, and perceived importance of dementia behaviors.

Results: 1,047 nurses and personal care workers participated. 78.8% respondents reported difficulties in managing dementia residents. Those who ranked positive symptoms as more important were 4.5 times more likely to report difficulties, independent of experience. Independent factors associated with positive attitudes toward further training were working in a non-profit home (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1, 5.0; p = 0.024) and having a dementia program or unit in the current workplace (OR 1.8, 95% CI 0.985, 3.302; p = 0.056). Only having a dementia program or unit in the current workplace was associated with a positive attitude toward commitment to stay in dementia care (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1, 3.2; p = 0.021), adjusted for gender, type of home, post, dementia prevalence in workplace, and work experience.

Conclusion: The majority of long-term care staff felt dementia care difficult yet hold positive attitude toward further training and were committed to stay in dementia care. Having a specialized dementia care unit or program in the current workplace was associated with commitment to stay in dementia care and was marginally associated with positive attitude toward further training.

(Received May 13 2012)

(Reviewed May 25 2012)

(Revised July 17 2012)

(Accepted August 08 2012)

(Online publication September 04 2012)

Key words:

  • dementia;
  • nursing home;
  • staff attitudes

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Tung Wai Auyeung, Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Pok Oi Hospital, Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China. Phone: +(852) 24868976; Fax: +(852) 24868976. Email: auyeungtw@ha.org.hk.