Costs of formal and informal care at home for people with dementia

Giebel, C.M. et al. Costs of formal and informal care at home for people with dementia: ‘Expert panel’ opinions from staff and informal carers. Dementia. Published online before print August 22, 2016

Abstract:

Effective home support in dementia is key in delaying nursing home admission. However, home support is frequently not tailored to the individual needs of people with dementia. Staff allocating home support services may not identify important care needs, which only be recognised by informal carers.

The purpose of this study was to explore the balance of informal and formal home support and their associated costs from the perspectives of both informal carers and paid staff. Five case vignettes of people with dementia were designed based on an existing English data set from a European study into transition into long-term care (the RightTimePlaceCare programme), representing 42 per cent of the English sample. In total, 14 informal carers and 14 paid staff were consulted in separate groups, as expert panels, regarding their recommendations for home care services for each vignette.

Care recommendations of carers and staff were costed based on nationally available unit costs and compared. Informal carers allocated fewer hours of care than staff. Personal and domestic home care and day care centres were the most frequently recommended formal services by both groups, and some vignettes of people with dementia were recommended for care home admission. The ratio of costs of informal versus formal support was relatively equal for paid staff, yet unbalanced from the perspectives of informal carers with a greater proportion of formal care costs. Recommendations from this study can help shape dementia care to be more tailored to the individual needs of people with dementia and their carers.

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