Professor Gerry Leavey
The evaluation of a Healthcare Passport to improve quality of care and communication for people living with dementia (EQulP)
PHA/The Atlantic Philanthropies (HSCNI)
Many people with dementia and their family carers experience considerable difficulties with regard to the communication of their health and social needs across a range of services and agencies. As healthcare becomes increasingly fragmented, person-centred care, in which service users and family carers are treated as equal partners in planning, management and decision-making, is diminished. This makes access to the support and care that people with dementia require, complicated, uncertain and frustrating. In order to address some of these problems, the Public Health Agency in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners has worked with service user and carer organisations such as the Alzheimers Society and to develop a healthcare passport. This is intended as a regularly updated document, which would hold significant biographical, social and health information to be shared with health and social care professionals. Held by the person with dementia and/or their family members, the passport will provide a single integrated source of personalized knowledge. While many people have viewed the development of the passport enthusiastically, we still dont know how it may be used in real life settings. We dont know how acceptable it is to potential users and what the practical challenges to using the passport might be; nor do we know if such a healthcare passport is able to communicate a sense of the person and their needs across different services. In partnership with service users and carers, we will examine how people with dementia, their families and health professionals use the passport over time. This study will provide invaluable information about the changing needs of people with dementia and their families. Additionally, it will provide us with strong evidence if communication tools such as this are able to assist people with dementia get the help they need in a timely and compassionate manner.