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Experiences and needs of caregivers of persons with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown in a city in India

Project statusComplete
Contact Sridhar Vaitheswaran
Institution web pagehttps://www.dementiaindia.org
Host institution Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) India https://www.scarfindia.org
Team members Dr. Sridhar Vaitheswaran, Miss. Monisha Lakshminarayanan, Dr. Vaishnavi Ramanujam, Dr. Subashini Sargunan, Miss. Shreenila Venkatesan
Project Summary

Objective: To describe the experiences and needs of caregivers of persons with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown in a city in India.

Design: Qualitative study using a telephonic semistructured interview.
Setting: A specialist geriatric outpatient mental health service based in a non-governmental organization in Chennai, India.

Participants: A purposive sampling of family members of persons with dementia registered in the database and seen within the previous 6 months.

Findings: Thirty-one caregivers participated. Thematic analysis of the data showed two sets of issues that the caregivers of persons with dementia faced in their experiences during the pandemic. The first set was unique to the caregivers that directly related to their caregiving role, while the second set did not relate directly to their caregiving role. These two sets also appeared to have a two-way interaction influencing each other. These issues generated needs, some of which required immediate support while others required longer-term support. The caregivers suggested several methods, such as use of video-consultations, telephone-based support and clinic-based in-person visits to meet their needs. They also wanted more services postpandemic. Conclusion: Caregivers of persons with dementia had multiple needs during the pandemic. Supporting them during these times require a pragmatic multilayered approach. Systemic changes, policies and frameworks, increased awareness, use of technology, and better access to health are necessary.

Outputs / Expected Outputs

https://dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.jagp.2020.06.026

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Experiences and needs of caregivers of persons with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown in a city in India