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Diagnosis of dementia as a turning point among Finnish families: A qualitative study

Authors

  • Hanna-Mari Pesonen RN, MHSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Health Sciences, Nursing Science, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
    2. Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
    • Correspondence address: Hanna-Mari Pesonen, Institute of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, P.O. Box 5000, University of Oulu, Oulu 90014, Finland. Email: hanna-mari.pesonen@oulu.fi

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  • Anne M. Remes MD, PhD,

    1. Institute of Clinical Medicine, Neurology, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
    2. Department of Neurology, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
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  • Arja Isola PhD

    1. Institute of Health Sciences, Nursing Science, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
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Abstract

The experiences of receiving a diagnosis of dementia from the viewpoint of people with dementia and their family members were explored in this study. Purposive sampling was used to recruit people with newly-diagnosed dementia (n = 8) and their family members (n = 8) from a university hospital's memory clinic in northern Finland. Data were collected using low-structured interviews, and analyzed using the stages of grounded theory. The diagnosis of dementia was a mutual turning point in the family, and it was experienced and responded to in shared processes within the family. In a changing life situation, close ones became a significant resource, and focus on the present day was emphasized. Individuals with dementia and their family members aimed to live meaningful lives by being active agents. Understanding the individual and shared experiences of both those with dementia and their family members can help health professionals design and carry out tailored early psychosocial interventions for families to assist them to create a shared understanding of living with dementia.

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