Outline of interprofessional management

Why interprofessional management of dementia?

In contrast to purely physical or mental impairments, dementia affects people on a cognitive, emotional and social level. Dementia is much more than an illness and a medical problem. The focus must be on the person and they must be supported in maintaining their personality despite dementia. Self-determination and social participation should be maintained and promoted for as long as possible. The affected person and their social environment must continuously adapt to the changes caused by the disease and adjust their lives accordingly.

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Each team member contributes unique knowledge, skills and experiences that supports and augments the entire team

The task requires interprofessional collaboration in the health and social care system.

An interprofessional team is a group of health and social care professionals who work closely together and are in frequent contact with each other to ensure the best possible treatment. Each profession and team member brings specific knowledge, skills and experience that support and strengthen the whole team.

Most professionals need to work together throughout the course of a dementia illness. For some of them, it makes most sense to get involved at the mild or moderate stage. All professions need to be aware of the importance of their respective contributions to dementia care and the critical importance of collaboration. Ideally, the collaboration of all those involved in the network should be guided and coordinated by a shared care plan.

Why is interprofessional collaboration important in the field of dementia?

An interprofessional team has advantages for people with dementia and their relatives, but also for the professionals involved.

The advantages for people with dementia and their relatives are:

  • Individually adapted interventions and solutions.
  • Planned, coordinated and proactive interventions.
  • Better use of available pharmacological treatment options.
  • Increased use of non-pharmacological forms of treatment.
  • Reducing the frequency of difficult situations.
  • Provision of counseling and support for family members.
  • Reduced stress and depression of relatives.
  • Fewer transitions to alternative living arrangements and care homes.

The benefits for healthcare professionals are:

  • Coordination and communication.
  • Interdisciplinary case discussions and treatment planning
  • Synergies and resources
  • Better transitions between forms of care.
  • Better recognition of co-existing and potentially treatable health problems.
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Interprofessional management offers benefits for people with dementia, carers, and professionals

What are the economical implications of interprofessional management of dementia?

Initially, interprofessional management of dementia requires additional time and effort to establish appropriate communication channels and documentation systems. However, at the end of the day a collaborative model of care can be cost-neutral or even cost-saving through reducing rates of institutionalisations, hospital admissions and inappropriate use of medical and social services, which are key cost drivers. Specifically, a collaborative care model has the potential of improving quality of life at lower costs compared with usual care.