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Engaging multi-stakeholder perspectives to identify dementia care research priorities

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to partner with stakeholders to identify gaps in care for persons living with dementia and their family caregivers and from this list, identify priorities for dementia care research. Methods: Using a community-engaged research approach, a Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC) consisting of diverse membership including persons living with dementia and family caregivers was convened. Through our work with the SAC, along with input from the wider network through a symposium, webinars, and an online learning community, gaps in dementia care and a list of topics for dementia care research was generated. This list was reduced to 46 topics for dementia care research and sent to stakeholders (persons living with dementia, family caregivers, and health/social care professionals in dementia care) to be prioritized by rating each of the 46 topics as “Not so important,” “Important,” or “Very important.” Priorities for dementia care were summarized by frequencies and proportions. Results: A total of 186 participants completed the survey from August through October 2020, including 23 (12.4%) persons living with dementia, 101 (54.3%) family caregivers, and 62 (33.3%) health/social care professionals. Consistent across stakeholder groups was the focus on research on how best to support families following a diagnosis of dementia. Among persons living with dementia, research focused on support for continuing to live in their own homes was ranked as the highest priority, rated by 91.3% as “Very Important”. High priority research areas for family caregivers included interventions to slow cognitive decline (76.3%) as well as non-pharmacological approaches to manage behavioral symptoms (74.7%). The highest priority research topics for health/social care professionals were focused on the diagnosis including benefits of an early diagnosis (71.4%), how best to deliver the diagnosis (70.9%), and supports needed following a diagnosis (78.6%). Conclusions: This project draws on the strengths of its multi-stakeholder perspective to support patient-centered outcomes research. Findings are intended to inform those who conduct research and those who fund research about which research topics stakeholders believe are most important and thus have greatest potential to improve the quality of life among people living with dementia and their families.

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Journal of patient-reported outcomes
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