Remote primary care consultations for people living with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic: experiences of people living with dementia and their carers.

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COVID-19 has accelerated remote healthcare provision in primary care, with changes potentially permanent. The implementation of remote provision of healthcare needs to hear from vulnerable populations, such as people living with dementia.To understand the remote healthcare experiences of patients living with dementia and their family carers during the COVID-19 pandemic.Qualitative interviews with community-based patients living with dementia and their carers during early months (May-August 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic in England.Semi-structured interviews were conducted remotely by telephone or video call with 30 patients living with dementia and 31 carers. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.Three main themes were derived relating to: 1) proactive care at the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, 2) avoidance of healthcare settings and services, and 3) difficulties with remote healthcare encounters. People living with dementia and their carers felt check-up calls were reassuring but limited in scope and content. Some avoided healthcare services, wishing to minimise COVID-19 risk, reduce NHS burden, or encountering technological barriers. Difficulties in remote consultations included lack of prompts to remember problems, dealing with new emerging problems, rescheduling/missed calls, and inclusion of the person with dementia’s voice.While remote consultations could be effective, pro-active calls could be more structured around needs, and consideration should be given to replace non-verbal prompts to describe problems, particularly for new health concerns. In continuing remote consultations, it is important to facilitate engagement with patients living with dementia and their carers to ensure best practice.

View the full article @ The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners
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Authors: Remco Tuijt, Greta Rait, Rachael Frost, Jane Wilcock, Jill Manthorpe, Kate Walters