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Original languageEnglish
Article number7:e013067. doi: 10.1136
JournalBMJ Open
Journal publication date1 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


Objectives People living with dementia (PLWD) have a high prevalence of comorbidty. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of dementia on access to non-dementia services and identify ways of improving service delivery for this population.

Design Qualitative study involving interviews and focus groups. Thematic content analysis was informed by theories of continuity of care and access to care.

Setting Primary and secondary care in the South and North East of England.

Participants PLWD who had 1 of the following comorbidities—diabetes, stroke, vision impairment, their family carers and healthcare professionals (HCPs) in the 3 conditions.

Results We recruited 28 community-dwelling PLWD, 33 family carers and 56 HCPs. Analysis resulted in 3 overarching themes: (1) family carers facilitate access to care and continuity of care, (2) the impact of the severity and presentation of dementia on management of comorbid conditions, (3) communication and collaboration across specialities and services is not dementia aware. We found examples of good practice, but these tended to be about the behaviour of individual practitioners rather than system-based approaches; current systems may unintentionally block access to care for PLWD.

Conclusions This study suggests that, in order to improve access and continuity for PLWD and comorbidity, a significant change in the organisation of care is required which involves: coproduction of care where professionals, PLWD and family carers work in partnership; recognition of the way a patient's diagnosis of dementia affects the management of other long-term conditions; flexibility in services to ensure they are sensitive to the changing needs of PLWD and their family carers over time; and improved collaboration across specialities and organisations. Research is needed to develop interventions that support partnership working and tailoring of care for PLWD and comorbidity.


This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http:// Bunn F, Burn A-M, Robinson L, et al. Healthcare organisation and delivery for people with dementia and comorbidity: a qualitative study exploring the views of patients, carers and professionals. BMJ Open 2017;7:e013067. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013067

ID: 10735464