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Publication Detail
How do factors of sociodemographic, health literacy and dementia experience influence carers' knowledge of dementia?
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Crawley S, Moore K, Vickerstaff V, Fisher E, Cooper C, Sampson EL
  • Publisher:
    SAGE Publications
  • Publication date:
    02/03/2022
  • Journal:
    Dementia
  • Medium:
    Print-Electronic
  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Country:
    England
  • Print ISSN:
    1471-3012
  • Language:
    English
  • Keywords:
    carers, dementia, family, health literacy, knowledge
  • Notes:
    This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Abstract
BACKGROUND: Dementia is a life limiting disease following a progressive trajectory. As carers often become key decision makers, their knowledge of dementia will have health implications for the person living with dementia as well as carer's psychological wellbeing. AIM: To explore how sociodemographic factors, health literacy and dementia experience influence family carers knowledge about dementia. METHOD: In this cross-sectional, mixed methods study, we interviewed 150 family carers and assessed their dementia knowledge using the Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (DKAS). Linear regression analyses were used to examine whether health literacy, previous experiences of dementia, support group attendance and sociodemographic characteristics predicted knowledge. Sixteen carers also completed qualitative interviews which explored unmet information needs. Transcripts and field notes were thematically analysed. RESULTS: Most participants were partners (47%) or adult children (48%) and cared for someone with severe (32%) or moderate (43%) dementia. Mean DKAS scores were 34.8/50 (SD = 7.0, range = 17-48) reflecting 8/25 incorrect answers. Backwards elimination regression found greater dementia knowledge was associated with greater health literacy for appraising information (coef 3.48, 95% CI (1.38, 5.58); p = 0.001) and more years of education (coef 0.39, 95% CI (0.12, 0.65); p = 0.004). Although not significant, knowledge was slightly lower in those who attended a support group, and a trend was found between ability to understand health information and knowledge. Only 39% accurately identified dementia as life shortening, indicating notable gaps in knowledge. Four qualitative themes were identified; arm yourself with information, ability to steer through information, other experience of dementia can be helpful and the importance of relationships with health care professionals. CONCLUSIONS: In an information age, vast amounts of information are available, but this can bring difficulties. Carers with more years of education and higher health literacy knew more about dementia. Professionals should consider how carers with lower health literacy can be supported through provision of timely, relevant information.
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