AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To establish an understanding of healthcare professionals' dementia knowledge and attitudes towards dementia care, and family carers' perceptions of dementia care in China
BACKGROUND: Healthcare professionals and family carers of people with dementia deliver most of the dementia care in China. However, little research on healthcare professionals' dementia knowledge and attitudes towards dementia care, and family carers' dementia care perceptions has been conducted in China
METHODS: An integrative review was conducted and reported based on the PRISMA guidelines and Whittemore and Knafl's framework. Eight English databases were searched without date restriction: CINAHL Plus with Full Text, MEDLINE, PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Embase, PsycINFO and Scopus; and three Chinese databases: China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chongqing Weipu and Wanfang, plus a manual search of reference lists.
RESULTS: Thirty-eight primary research papers were included in the review. Three themes were identified from the synthesis: 1) knowledge and competency; 2) attitudes towards dementia care; and 3) carers' burden and unmet needs. Healthcare professionals' dementia knowledge ranged from low to moderate levels and attitudes towards dementia care were generally negative. With low levels of knowledge of dementia and negative attitudes including stigma, family carers were under stress with insufficient support, and they expected more support from community nurses.
CONCLUSIONS: There is an apparent need for a national policy on healthcare professional education and training to improve dementia care practice in China. Such a policy may improve support services for family carers.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Nurses, and particularly community nurses, are well-positioned to support family carers in China. However, healthcare professionals in China are not prepared for this. Therefore, education and training on dementia care should be integrated into medical and nursing undergraduate programs and provided for healthcare professionals after commencing employment, and strategies to reduce stigma are needed.