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Jul 25, 2014 11:48 AM EDT

Dementia Carers May Need More Medical Support

People who care for patients with dementia may need more support with medication management, according to a recent study.

Researchers from Aston University in the United Kingdom interviewed family members who care for loved ones with dementia to understand the problems they face. Preliminary themes identified included practical issues, the need for clear communication and that carers found the responsibility a heavy burden.

"Family carers have a key role in supporting medication management particularly as the dementia progresses. We need to understand the challenges that family carers face and how healthcare professionals can help," Dr. Ian Maidmen, lead author of the study and senior lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy at Aston University, said in a statement.

Researchers describe Patient and Public Involvement in developing a research project to understand the views of family carers, including the difficulties and hazards, on their potential role in supporting the medication management of the person they care for with dementia. The Department of Health have stated that to develop appropriate research, the general public and patients must be involved in developing the grant application. This process, as reported in BMC Research Notes, is such an example of co-design with appropriate engagement of the general public in the key area of dementia.

"We welcome this as a way to indicate the benefits of partnership in project development to reach real world scenarios so vital to delivering research studies to address care in dementia," Dr. Chris Fox, reader in mental health at the University of East Anglia dementia lead of the East of England Comprehensive Research Network, said in a statement.

The research team said their findings will help shape future research on the challenges faced by family carers. 

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