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Title: Understanding the psychological health and experiences of dementia care staff
Author: Coates, Alice
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Care work is emotionally and physically demanding and is coupled with organisational challenges. As such, care work has been associated with emotional exhaustion which not only negatively impacts staff but also the care that they provide. Greater understanding of the psychological health of dementia care staff and their perceptions of their work will provide insights into how this group may be better supported. The first paper provides a review of the literature relating to psychological outcomes in dementia care staff. The literature identified was viewed in terms of an existing model of psychological health, the BASIC Ph, with the aim of evaluating the evidence and enhancing understanding of psychological health in this group. The utility of this model was also evaluated. The model highlighted areas for potential intervention as well as those for future research. Clinical implications for Clinical Psychologists were also discussed. The second paper aimed to increase understanding of the experiences of dementia care assistants who perceived themselves to be competent in their role. Eight care assistants who had high levels of self-efficacy were interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) revealed four superordinate themes. Accounts of experiencing dilemmas provided important contextual information and constituted the first superordinate theme. The second theme 'togetherness and connection' described participants' experience of the need for support, closeness and the value of engaging with older people with dementia. The third theme encompassed the attunement between care assistants and the older people for whom they cared and described empathy, personal perspective-taking and circularity of emotion as guides to care. The final theme 'caring as part of life' described the link between caring and identity as well as a genuine interest in people, an accepting attitude and motivation to care. These themes provide fruitful areas for further research and have implications for care staff training.
Supervisor: Murphy, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: dementia ; care staff ; psychological health ; self-efficacy