Supporting family carers to carry out person-centred care

Research project: Person-centred care and relationship continuity in spousal relationships

Lead Investigator: Dr Gerard Riley

  • Institution: University of Birmingham 
  • Grant type: PhD Studentship
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Amount: £63,190.80

Why did we fund this project?

Comments from our Research Network volunteers:

'An important area of research which has the potential to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and family.'

Project summary

Person-centred care is important for the well-being of everyone living with dementia. It can sometimes be difficult for family carers to provide person-centred care and unfortunately there is little research into person-centred care in family settings. The main aim of this PhD project is to design and test an intervention to help family carers take a more person centred approach.

The background

As dementia affects everyone differently, the care needed by each individual is different. Research has shown that person-centred care is important to ensuring the well-being of people with dementia. Unfortunately there is limited research about how to support family carers to care for their loved one in a person centred way.

It is believed that how a carer views the relationship with a spouse or partner with dementia may influence how person-centred their care is. Some carers see the person with dementia and their relationship with them,as the same as before dementia (continuity).

Whilst others see the person with dementia and their relationship as different to before dementia. Researchers believe perceiving continuity may help the carer be more person centred.

What does this project involve?

Dr Riley and his team want to understand if there is a connection between continuity and person centred care. The team will:

  • Investigate whether carers who report higher continuity in a questionnaire also show more person-centred care.
  • Couples will then be interviewed about their relationship and the care provided to investigate in more detail this connection.
  • Lastly the research team will aim to develop an intervention to increase the perception of continuity as a way to help carers to provide more person-centred care. 


How will this project help people with dementia?

There hasn’t been a new treatment for dementia in over 15 years and although we are moving closer and closer to that all important cure we must support people affected by the condition today – both those living with the condition and carers.

Developing ways to help family carers deliver more person-centred care would directly benefit the psychological wellbeing of their loved one and themselves. 

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