According to the increasing prevalence of dementia in Germany, Dementia Care Units (DSCU) have been established in about 30 percent of nursing homes. These are usually different from other care units: Residents living there have a diagnosis of dementia and severe cognitive impairment. DSCUs aim to improve the residents’ quality of life and are characterized, e.g. by the adaptation of the physical environment, special training of staff and the implementation of dementia-oriented activity and therapy programs.
Various international studies have evaluated the concept of DSCUs. The answer to the question, whether care in DSCUs is superior to the care in traditional care units still remains vague. One reason is that neither DSCUs nor any control care units are comparable and standardized. Typologies for DSCUs have been developed in the U.S., but are non-existent in Germany.
The study aims to develop a typology of different care units in nursing homes by identifying and describing clusters of comparable care units. The distinction between different types of care units is based on the characteristics of the residents, the professionals, the organization, the system and dementia-specific interventions. Furthermore, the aim is to investigate whether some clusters of residential areas are more likely to carry out dementia-specific interventions than others.
To answer the research question, a survey study will be conducted of a stratified random sample of German nursing homes. The data will be collected through telephone interviews with a standardized questionnaire. Within the study, nursing home administrators and nursing service providers will be interviewed. A multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) with ascending hierarchical clustering (AHC) is used to investigate relationships between the individual characteristics and to develop a typology. In order to show differences between the clusters of care units, characteristics will be evaluated descriptively. The results of the statistical analysis will be interpreted and the types will be labeled according to the most prominent characteristics. The aim is to identify as few clusters as possible that explain as much variation as possible.
The survey study is a pilot study in which theoretical assumptions are made. These include, which of the studied types are more likely to implement dementia-oriented interventions than others and which factors may contribute to this. The theoretical assumptions will be tested in a subsequent theory-based evaluation study.