Background: Care management providing a high quality of life (QoL) is a crucial issue in dealing with increasing numbers of dementia patients. Although the transition from informal (home-based) care to formal (institutional) care is often a function of dementia stage, for those with early dementia there is currently no definitive evidence showing that informal or formal care provides a higher QoL, particularly where informal care is favored for local cultural reasons. This paper outlines the research protocol for a study comparing formal and informal care in Malaysia. It seeks to provide evidence regarding which is more appropriate and results in higher QoL in early dementia.
Methods: This is a quasi-experimental study design involving 224 early dementia patients from both nursing home and community settings. Participants will be assessed for cognitive severity, QoL, needs, activities of daily living, depression and social isolation/connectedness by using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Cognitive Impairment Scale – 4 items (CIS-4), EUROPE Health Interview Survey-Quality of Life (WHO8), Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL8), Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly – Short Version (CANE-S), Barthel Index (BI), Cornell Scale for Depression (CSDD), Geriatric Depression Scale – 15 items (GDS-15), and Friendship Scale (FS) respectively.
Conclusion: This study aims to provide a better understanding of care needs in early dementia. Given population aging, the study findings will provide evidence assisting decision-making for policies aimed at reducing the burden of caregiving and preserving the QoL of dementia patients.