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The “pathway to care” concept offers a helpful framework for preparing national dementia plans and strategies and provides a structure to explore the availability and accessibility of timely and effective care for people with dementia and support for their informal carers. Within the framework of the JPND-MEETINGDEM implementation project the pathways to regular day-care activities and the Meeting Centers Support Programme (MCSP), an innovative combined support form for people with dementia and carers, was explored.
An exploratory, descriptive, qualitative, cross-country design was applied to investigate the pathways to day care in several regions in four European countries (Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands).
Before implementation of MCSP, of the four countries the United Kingdom had the most structured pathway to post-diagnostic support for people with dementia. MCSP introduction had a positive impact on the pathways to day-care activities in all countries. MCSP filled an important gap in post-diagnostic care, increasing the accessibility to support for both people with dementia and carers. Key elements such as program of activities, target group, and collaboration between healthcare and social services were recognized as success factors.
This study shows that MCSP fills (part of) the gap between diagnosis and residential care and can therefore be seen as a pillar of post-diagnostic care and support. Further dissemination of Meeting Centers in Europe may have a multiple impact on the structure of dementia services in European countries and the pathways to day care for people with dementia and their carer(s).
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