Healthbridge: the national evaluation of peer support networks and dementia advisers in implementation of the national dementia strategy for England

CLARKE Charlotte L., et al
Department of Health
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'Living with dementia', the national dementia strategy for England (Department of Health, 2009) recommended Dementia Adviser and Peer Support Network services, and established 40 demonstration sites in a range of organisational settings. These services aimed to provide people with dementia and carers with information, guidance and advice, thus enabling access to a wide range of support including social groups that enabled peer learning. 'Healthbridge' is independent research commissioned by the Department of Health, which provides evidence on the importance of post diagnostic support for people with dementia and their carers, and the role that dementia advisers and peer support networks have in this. A mixed methods approach to data collection was used, which included activity and outcome monitoring; organisational surveys and collaborative discussions; and in-depth case studies. Among themes considered were: social networks; independence, control and choice; and awareness raising. People with dementia and carers saw dementia advisers and peer support networks as having a positive impact on their wellbeing and quality of life. Demonstrator sites provided evidence of both dementia advisers and peer support networks filling a gap in service provision that often occurs after diagnosis but before there is a need for more intensive support. There were also resource saving implications for the local health and social care economy. This report is also available in two other much shorter formats: a brief report written primarily for service commissioners and providers, and a lay summary. (Original abstract)

Subject terms:
dementia, support groups, research design, research methods, research, peer support;
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