HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Factors Concerning Veterans With Dementia, Their Caregivers, and Coordination of Care: A Systematic Literature Review

Article

This systematic literature review explores care and care giving in relation to veterans with dementia. The review aims to identify opportunities available to increase public awareness on dementia in military veterans; areas for improvement in the level of care and quality of life for veterans; determine if adequate resources are available to veterans with dementia and their caregivers.

Abstract

Military veterans diagnosed with dementia compose a large portion of our population. Often ignored are their caregivers and their plight as well as the availability, quality, and accessibility of health care for this demographic. The purpose of this systematic literature review is three fold: to identify opportunities available to increase public awareness on the subject; to identify areas of improvement in the level of care and quality of life for our nation’s veterans; and to identify if adequate resources are available to veterans with dementia and their caregivers. The review confirmed there are many facilitators and barriers in the coordination of care offered to veterans with dementia. Facilitators of quality care include veteran’s expectations, family support, program development, and the availability of services. These positive aspects are aided by several community-based support services, new technology, and preventative care. Barriers are caregiver expectations, coordination of care, providers, and informal and formal costs. These negative facets are due to lack of educational resources, an increased veteran population diagnosed with dementia, limited knowledge of resources, and limited medical service in rural areas. Conclusion: Overall, there are a number of community programs that want to, and can, help veterans with dementia. There are also a number of ways to help veterans with dementia cope with their issues, which include technology and preventative care. Veterans are hindered from receiving help with their dementia concerns due to most veteran’s dependence on the Veterans Affairs (VA) for health services, a lack of education about possible treatments and programs, and a lack of services in rural areas. This review will prove useful to providers when evaluating the expansion of VA services and caregiver interventions.

Full Reference

Mileski, M., Kruse, C. S., Brooks, M., Haynes, C., Collingwood, Y. and Rodriguez, R., 2017. Factors Concerning Veterans With Dementia, Their Caregivers, and Coordination of Care: A Systematic Literature Review. Military Medicine, 182, e1904-e1911.