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A Biopsychosocial-Ecological Framework for Family-Framed Dementia Care

Background: The biopsychosocial model has been applied through collaborative care dementia models to the diagnosis, symptom management, and treatment of dementia with a focus specifically on the person with dementia. Because individuals with dementia are increasingly dependent upon others particularly as the illness advances, dementia care requires the involvement and commitment of others, usually family, along with support from community-based resources. Hence, the quality and effectiveness of a person's dementia care are shaped in large part by the foundation of family relationships and the social and community networks in which they are embedded. While most current dementia care models incorporate biopsychosocial principles and recognize the essential role that family members play as caregivers, they fail to consider a patient's family system and relationships as potential risk factors or social determinants for care outcomes. Objective: This paper introduces a biopsychosocial-ecological framework to dementia care that is person-centered and “family-framed” in that it targets factors that influence care considerations at both the individual and relational levels of the social ecological networks that the patient and their family members occupy. Method and Findings: We use this model to illustrate how current dementia care practices tend to focus exclusively on the individual patient and caregiver levels but fail to identify and address important relational considerations that cut across levels. Conclusions: We call for the need to add assessment of family relational histories of persons with dementia and family members who care for them in order to better meet the needs of the patient and the caregiver and to prevent harm. This model accentuates the need for interprofessional education on family assessments and caregiver-centered care, as well as interdisciplinary, collaborative models of dementia care that assume more accountability for meeting the needs of family caregivers in addition to those of persons with dementia. 

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Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
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Journal Titles
Frontiers In Psychiatry
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