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Dementia (London). 2013 Mar;12(2):251-67. doi: 10.1177/1471301211421837. Epub 2011 Nov 7.

Exploring the gap between rhetoric and reality in dementia care in Australia: could practice documents help bridge the great divide?

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  • 1Griffith University, Australia.


Quality of care, and indeed, quality of life, for people living with dementia in long-term care is often underpinned by philosophies of care, such as person-centred care and relationship-centred care. The translation of these philosophies into practice is influenced by a range of individual and organizational features, including the context in which such care occurs. Within modern care organizations, the context of care is evidenced through organizational documents. This study sought to identify the key documents guiding dementia care within one large Australian long-term care organization and to explore points of consistency and tension within the documented system of care. Results highlight a lack of consistency and clarity in the philosophy of dementia care and a disconnection between the key documents guiding practice. This disconnection creates tension for clinicians and carers, and may contribute to the gap between rhetoric and reality in dementia care. This study suggests that a congruent documented dementia system can help bridge the gap between espoused philosophies of care and everyday care practices.


care documents; dementia; documentation analysis; hermeneutics; person-centred care

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