Staff opinions about the leadership and organisation of municipal dementia care


Lars Albinsson Palliative Research Unit Vrinnevi Hospital 601 82 Norrköping Sweden


The present study describes the opinions of experienced staff providing direct care to patients with dementia in municipal units in Sweden. The focus is mainly on leadership and other organisational factors. A purposeful sample of 31 staff members employed in municipal dementia care in both urban and rural areas in mid-Sweden were selected. Data were collected within a qualitative paradigm using semi-structured interviews which were tape-recorded and analysed using a modified phenomenographical approach. The nearly unanimous opinions of the interviewees indicated that there was a great lack of daily leadership in the units. Thus, few units had clearly formulated goals and few had regular care planning for their residents. Poorly developed teamwork was reported in the care of people with dementia especially regarding doctors, whose visits to the unit were too infrequent and too short, and did not include a direct exchange of information with other staff. In addition, little or no staff education and guidance/supervision was provided on a regular basis. In conclusion, without any unreasonable increase in cost, measures such as introducing clear leadership at the care unit level, concentrating on multi-professional teamwork, and providing education and guidance/supervision to the staff would probably result in better care for patients with dementia and their families.