gms | German Medical Science

15. Deutscher Kongress für Versorgungsforschung

Deutsches Netzwerk Versorgungsforschung e. V.

5. - 7. Oktober 2016, Berlin

Information exchange between home and respite care concerning people with dementia

Meeting Abstract

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  • Silke Kuske - Fliedner Fachhochschule, Düsseldorf, Deutschland
  • Martina Roes - Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen, Standort Witten, Witten, Deutschland
  • Sabine Bartholomeyczik - Universität Witten/Herdecke, Institut für Pflegewissenschaft, Witten, Deutschland

15. Deutscher Kongress für Versorgungsforschung. Berlin, 05.-07.10.2016. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2016. DocFV60

doi: 10.3205/16dkvf016, urn:nbn:de:0183-16dkvf0162

Published: September 28, 2016

© 2016 Kuske et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Background: There is a lack of knowledge about communication during the handover of people with dementia (PwD) between home and respite care facilities in Germany [1]. Also the informal caregiver is usually not available during respite care, and therefore the required information has to be available before or during admission [2]. Especially, for PwD respite care is challenging because of coping with a new environment [3] and processes. Therefore communication failure, e.g., missing information about the need of care may be associated with adverse events [4].

Aim: The aim of the study was to describe safety-relevant handover between home and respite care facilities regarding the care of PwD and to explore the current need for improvement.

Methods: Conduction of a cross-sectoral pilot online-survey of respite care facility management staff in 2014. The online-survey contained non-metric quantitative data and qualitative data. The data was analysed separately with a comparison interpretation stage at the end. It was conducted as a final step evolving from previous study phases: two systematic reviews, qualitative expert interviews, and a two-stepped Delphi-approach [5]. Information exchange was described by using the adapted Lasswell’s [6] general communication model: “sender-receiver” (direction of communication), “content” (safety-relevant information) and “channel” (media, form of communication). Comprehensive dimensions were: “coordination” (e.g., time factors and planning of activities) and “critical success factors” (e.g., methods and communication standards).

Results: In total, 50 staff members (respite care facility manager) participated [5]. The study showed information delivery deadlines are not clearly defined. More than half of the facility manager reported that the needed medical and medication related documents are missing at admission. An early identification of informal caregivers or PwDs need of support is poorly in respite care. At discharge, only a few reported that they provide a follow-up call with informal caregivers after discharge to ensure caregiving at home. This means, that a regularly evaluation of the quality of information exchange is missing. Only a few reported that they usually measure information exchange quality. Overall, difficulties include predominantly poor information exchange, cooperation, and evaluation of information exchange.

Discussion: There is a need for improvement regarding information exchange, coordination, and quality assurance. Other previous studies showed, that the quality of the information exchange was reported as poor if there are no collaboration arrangements [5]. Especially, the informal caregiver has a crucial role in safety-relevant information exchange [7]. They need support to recognize the relevant information that is needed during respite care. Standards for information exchange at admission and discharge are recommended.

Implications for practice: Delivery deadlines should be planned to acquire information. To avoid missing information respite care staff has to be trained to improve communication with informal caregivers. Specific admission forms with narrative descriptions of daily care could help to collect safety-relevant information, e.g., the crucial individual habits of the PwD. An implementation of a routinely evaluation of information exchange, including external involved parties, would be helpful to identify deficits in communication.


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