chapter  14
23 Pages

Understanding the social context of families experiencing dementia: a qualitative approach

Enhancing personhood well-being is one major goal for effective health care and social service delivery systems for families experiencing dementia (Kitwood and Bredin, 1992). Central to this goal, and the implementation of programmes that include reminiscence, music therapy and related treatment modes, is the need for those in the helping role more fully to understand the unique social context of the patients and their families. In order to facilitate this shift from a focus on the individual's 'presenting problem' to the family's 'presenting situation', several methods for gathering and presenting qualitative family contextual data are described. It is hoped that this approach will lead to more empathic caring relationships, more effective methods of documentation or charting by professionals, and the development of a contextualized model of care based on concepts derived from attachment theory, career theory (Barley, 1989), and a family systems perspective (Boss, 1988;Tomm, 1988; Wright and Leahey, 1994).