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Can religious ministers offer frontline dementia care? Results of a small study. Dr Peter Kevern and Rev Mandy Walker.

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Presentation on theme: "Can religious ministers offer frontline dementia care? Results of a small study. Dr Peter Kevern and Rev Mandy Walker."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Can religious ministers offer frontline dementia care? Results of a small study. Dr Peter Kevern and Rev Mandy Walker

3 Background (1) The National Dementia Study highlighted three areas for improvement in which the churches may have a particularly useful role to play: 1.Changing attitudes to dementia in the community as a whole 2. Early diagnosis and intervention 3.Providing a single point of contact for people with dementia and their carers across the whole of the disease trajectory

4 Background (2) Current research: US studies suggest clergy understand dementia and can potentially offer support (but very different context) A few UK studies suggest potential for ‘frontline’ mental health support work, but complicated by diversity of UK contexts Only one study on UK clergy in Southwark (2001) All studies point to lack of training and support as limiting factors

5 Our research Questionnaire distributed to all members (N=197) of Stafford Area Deanery, Anglican Diocese of Lichfield 66 (33.5%) returned Sought to flesh out the potential and limitations of clergy-led dementia care and so suggest directions for development

6 Findings (1) Two distinct sets of clergy activity and needs: Residential care homes Members of congregation, their friends and relatives

7 Findings (2) Clergy rarely work alone but also rarely work closely with other agencies

8 Findings (3) Almost all clergy offer a ‘pastoral package’ plus Many examples of good and bad uses of time

9 Findings (4) Clergy show good understanding of dementia But less understanding of carer experience, family dynamics, disease trajectory

10 Findings (5) Clergy would like to spend less time ‘firefighting’ And more on strategy, advocacy and empowerment

11 Provisional conclusions 1.Churches and their clergy are more active and effective in responding to dementia than the clergy themselves recognise 2.Clergy spend much of their energy on a ‘pastoral package’ that can often be shared with others 3.If at least one person in each church were trained in current attitudes and perspectives on dementia care, the churches’ response could be improved 4.Need for better inter-agency collaboration 5.These measures would free clergy up for a different role: coordination and advocacy

12 Selected references Leavey, G (2008) U.K. Clergy and People in Mental Distress: Community and Patterns of Pastoral Care Transcultural Psychiatry 45(1) doi: / Leavey, G and King, M. (2007) The devil is in the detail: partnerships between psychiatry and faith-based organisations British Journal of Psychiatry 191: Leavey, G; Loewenthal, K; and King, M (2007) Challenges to sanctuary: The clergy as a resource for mental health care in the community Social Science & Medicine, 65 (3), Matthes, B and Tinker, A (2002) The Church’s role in dementia care, Journal of Dementia Care 10(6), 17 Ries, D. (1993) Caregivers and the Ministry in Alzheimer's Disease. American Journal of Alzheimer's Care and Related Disorders and Research. 8(6): Robinson, K.; Ewing, S and Looney, S (2000) Clergy support and caregiver expectations for support: a replication study. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 15, Stansbury, K.; Marshall, G; Harley, D; and Nelson, N (2010) Rural African American Clergy: an exploration of their attitudes and knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease Journal of Gerontological Social Work 53, Tompkins, C. and Sorrell, J (2008) Older adults with Alzheimer’s disease in a faith community: forging needed partnerships between clergy and health care professionals. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 46(1) Wood, E; Watson, R and Hayter, M (2011)To what extent are the Christian clergy acting as frontline mental health workers? A study from the North of England Mental Health, Religion & Culture 14(8)


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