Learning dementia care in three contexts: practical training in day-care, group dwelling and nursing home
During the period 1996–1999, 18 licensed practical nurses (LPNs) received specialized training to become caregivers and mentors in the field of dementia care at the Silvia Home Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. The aim of the study was to illuminate how the trainees utilized their practical training to learn about dementia care. The trainees gained practical training within three care models for elderly persons with dementia. The three forms of care and the context for practical training included the school’s integrated day-care, a group dwelling and a nursing home. The findings show that the trainees made use of each training context in a similar fashion but there were differences between the contexts. A perspective of human dignity characterized the day-care. This was an opportunity for the nursing philosophy taught by the programme to be put to practical use, and for reflection and experiences pertaining to the individual patient to be developed. In the group dwelling, the trainees encountered patients with different forms of dementia and studied how the care-giving could be adapted to the individual patient’s symptoms — the disease perspective. In the nursing home, the trainees chose a staff perspective in which they focused on organization, management and working conditions as well as staff attitudes and the effects of these factors on patient care.