Change the world

School of Clinical Care Sciences

RESEARCHER: Ms Smith, L

ABSTRACT: Relatives of persons with dementia face many challenges when caring for their loved ones in the home. Literature indicates that significant others need assistance when they experience the transition from being a significant other to being the primary caregiver of a person with dementia. Significant others often have to deal with many additional role transitions once they become primary caregivers. This can lead to stress, burnout and other problems related to caring. 

Therefore, the aim of the study is to provide an understanding of how primary caregivers of persons with dementia experience providing care to them.  The study also aims to understand how significant others are prepared and supported in their role as primary caregivers.  The data will be used to develop strategies for registered psychiatric nurses and other health care professionals to prepare and support significant others during their role transition from significant other to primary caregiver of a person with dementia.

A qualitative approach will be used with an exploratory, contextual, descriptive design, applying the Middle-Range Transition Theory as the paradigm and phenomenology as the meta-paradigm.  Visual narrative inquiry using collage and semi-structured individual interviews will be conducted with participants who are the primary caregivers of persons with dementia. They will be purposefully selected from a non-profit Alzheimer’s clinic in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.  A sample size of about 6 to 15 participants is anticipated.  A conceptual framework will then be developed based on the data collected so that strategies can be developed for health care professionals to support primary caregivers.