As part of the ActifCare (ACcess to Timely Formal Care) project, we conducted expert interviews in eight European countries with policy and political decision makers, or representatives of relevant institutions, to determine their perspectives on access to formal care for people with dementia and their carers.
Each ActifCare country (Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom) conducted semi-structured interviews with 4-7 experts (total N = 38). The interview guide addressed the topics "Complexity and Continuity of Care", "Formal Services", and "Public Awareness". Country-specific analysis of interview transcripts used an inductive qualitative content analysis. Cross-national synthesis focused on similarities in themes across the ActifCare countries.
The analysis revealed ten common themes and two additional sub-themes across countries. Among others, the experts highlighted the need for a coordinating role and the necessity of information to address issues of complexity and continuity of care, demanded person-centred, tailored, and multidisciplinary formal services, and referred to education, mass media and campaigns as means to raise public awareness.
Policy and political decision makers appear well acquainted with current discussions among both researchers and practitioners of possible approaches to improve access to dementia care. Experts described pragmatic, realistic strategies to influence dementia care. Suggested innovations concerned how to achieve improved dementia care, rather than transforming the nature of the services provided. Knowledge gained in these expert interviews may be useful to national decision makers when they consider reshaping the organisation of dementia care, and may thus help to develop best-practice strategies and recommendations.