Patient Family & Community Engagement | Ambulatory/Outpatient

The value of community psychiatric services for the elderly’s dementia caregiver group: Exploring the perspectives of participants

Community Psychiatric Services for the Elderly (CPSE) at a large teaching hospital in Toronto has offered a monthly support group for caregivers of persons with dementia for over 30 years. Participants were surveyed in January 2018 about group attendance, benefits of attending the group, and areas for improvement. Results are shared in this case study. A total of 8 participants responded to the survey with a response rate of 47%. The feedback was predominantly positive. The most prevailing theme that emerged from the survey responses was group members’ appreciation for the opportunity to meet with one another to discuss relevant issues and gain support from the facilitator and each other. Feedback from the survey also revealed opportunities for improvement on how the group could be better facilitated to elicit more equal participation from all group members. Formally assessing the value of the group from the perspectives of participants confirmed that the group is a safe place for dementia caregivers to get support and a valuable way to access knowledge from dementia care experts. COVID-19 has fostered evolution of the group from in-person to virtual meeting, opening opportunities for more feedback from members to help create the future of the dementia caregiver support group.