This project is aimed at ascertaining the ways in which Alzheimer’s and dementia diseases affect families living in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The research is carried out for the purpose of determining how it is possible to help people suffering from these diseases in two countries. The study will provide useful information that can be used by policy makers, commissioners, and providers of healthcare for patients and elderly people, who suffer from these diseases in the UK and the Netherlands.
Background/ Literature Review/ Secondary Research
Dementia is a syndrome that occurs because diseases affecting the brain may be progressive and chronic in nature (Jones, 2004, pp. 5). This qualitative research will, therefore, ascertain whether the methods utilized to help families living in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands suffering from the Alzheimer’s or dementia diseases are effective in solving their troubles. The reason for choosing this research subject is that there is a lot of secondary information that has been documented concerning the prevalence of the two diseases in these countries and their governments have continuously supported these patients for a long time.
Previous research indicates that the diseases are accompanied by various disturbances of individual’s cortical functions that may include the loss of memory, orientation, and loss of thinking. They may additionally lead to the loss of their calculation, understanding, language and judgment abilities and decrease their learning capacities (Burns & Winblad, 2006, pp. 3). These previous researches also suggest that impairments that affect cortical functions may be accompanied by deteriorations of person's emotional controls, motivations, or social behaviors. The syndrome is common among people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (Hughes, Lloyd-Williams, & Sachs, 2009, pp.21). Dementia and development of other cognitive impairments have been closely associated with ageing. This implies that the longer people are expected to live, the more likely it is that they will suffer from these diseases (Basford & Thorpe, 2004, pp. 34-43). According to previous reports released in the UK in the year 2007, the occurrence of dementia late in an individual’s life was estimated to have been increasing at a consistent rate of 1.3% for individuals aged between 65-69 years. On the other hand, the prevalence of diseases among those who were aged above 95 years old was 32.5% (Corr, Nabe, & Corr, 2012, pp. 4). Previous studies and clinical assessments carried out by the Council on Medical Research in the Netherlands showed higher rates of the prevalence of dementia in the country. Previous Studies revealed that total incidence of dementia among individuals approaching their deaths was about 30% among people who were aged above 65 years. On the other hand, for those who were aged above 95 years, the rate increased to 58% (Warner, 2002, pp. 23-27).
Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and senility have been identified by previous research as being among top death causes of people aged 80-84 years in both countries. The number of elderly people in these two countries has been constantly increasing. This, therefore, implies that there will also be an increase in the number of people suffering from these two diseases in these countries (Turkington & Mitchell, 2010, pp. 10-12). The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in England estimated that about 613,661 individuals were suffering from dementia in the country in the year 2010, though this number is projected to increase to about 1,054,621 people by the year 2030 (European Dementia Consensus Network, 2007, pp. 2-3). It was previously considered that the quality of person’s death was dependent on the place where he/she died. These conditions were also influenced by their medical conditions, personal care situation, and their ages (Rosenzweig, 2012, pp.16-18). In the UK and Netherlands, nursing services and homes for aged people have previously played a significant role in the care that the aged adults received as the time of their death approached (Laureys & Tononi, 2009, pp. 9-11). Reports from two countries indicate that 22% of deaths of people who were aged above 75 years occurred in care homes, though this percentage has increased to 37% for deaths of people aged over 90 years in recent years. These reports also showed that most of people in these countries who were suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were taken care of in nursing and old people’s care centers (Purtilo & Henk, 2010, pp.2-4). The governments in these two countries should consider whether old people who commit crimes due to their condition should be persecuted or offered better financial, emotional, and physical support.
This research will be an exploratory qualitative research (McDougall & Gorman, 2008, pp. 29). In addition, a questionnaire will be distributed to each individual who will be visited in care centers and nursing homes. The questionnaires will be semi-structured for use by patients who have reached the terminal stage whereas structured questionnaires will not be used. It will also help bring out the problems that patients encounter and keep their information confidential (Hughes, Lloyd-Williams, & Sachs, 2009, pp. 66-67). However, this method is disadvantageous since most of patients suffering from these two diseases may provide inconsistent answers or fail to provide them. This is mainly because these diseases have already affected their memory and thinking capacities (Turkington & Mitchell, 2010, pp. 23-25). Any disclosure of patients' private information can lead to legal suits since it is considered an unethical practice in medical profession (Uhlenberg, 2009, pp. 2). An example of the questionnaire to be used can be found in the Appendix A of this paper.
Determining the Sample Size
The target population of this research comprises of both men and women, who are aged 65 years and above in both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Patients suffering from these diseases and who are treated or hospitalized either in government or private health care centers will be interviewed for the research. Any information that will be collected from sampled patients will be through their consent and their private information will held confidential as per the health care regulations laid down by the law of these two countries.
This research intends to reveal difficulties that patients suffering from these two diseases encounter and ways through which these enigmatic issues can be resolved. It is also aimed to determine the percentages of the total population in these two countries, who suffer from the disease as well as to find out underlying prevalence rates.
Consequently, this research shall reveal the differences between the conditions of patients in nursing homes and those in elderly care centers. After finding the differences that exist between the types of care provided and their impacts on respective patients recommendations for change will be made to institutions and personnel in charge (Basford & Thorpe, 2004, pp. 37). The research will also aim to find out how many people have died from the disease in a span of 10 years in the two countries. These figures will then be used for calculating the number of people who die from the diseases. The information obtained concerning the age of patients suffering from the diseases will be vital in determining the prevalence of diseases among various age groups. This finding will in turn be important in determining which measures may be applied to curb prevalence of the diseases in the most appropriate manner (Hughes, Lloyd-Williams & Sachs, 2009, pp. 71).
The research will add to the existing knowledge in that it will provide recommendations for improving the welfare of patients suffering from these diseases in nursing homes and care centers for the aged. It will also account for the problems that patients living at home experience. This research shall adopt a different approach to that used in previous researches, which only speak about problems encountered by patients who reside in care centers for the elderly and in nursing homes (Basford & Thorpe, 2004, pp. 39-40). In addition, the research will dwell on providing solutions for patients suffering from the two diseases in both the UK and the Netherlands.
Data will be analyzed through the use of quantitative methods. It will then be represented in a pictorial form either graphically or through the use of charts and tables to give a clearer picture of problems that patients go through (Turkington & Mitchell, 2010, pp. 12).
The entire process of conducting research may take a long time to complete. This is because it will entail visiting various care centers and homes for the elderly to obtain the information required (Turkington & Mitchell, 2010). Most of patients who will be visited are also suffering from memory loss, and their thinking capacities have been affected by diseases (Professor Burns & Winblad, 2006). This, therefore, implies that information obtained from respondents may not be accurate enough. Recommendations made may in turn be inappropriate in different situations they encounter every day (Basford & Thorpe, 2004, pp. 42).
The process of collecting information may also be expensive for the researcher since it will involve travelling between countries and to different centers where patients are located (Turkington & Mitchell, 2010). It is a primary form of research and may only be made possible if patients are directly interviewed. This implies that the researcher may have to acquire an external source of funds to support the study. The research cannot be carried out in any easier way due to the fact that weighty issues and quantifiable results can only be obtained through conducting personal interviews on both the patients and other relevant parties (Burns & Winblad, 2006, pp. 33).
This research proposal examines the issue of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among patients suffering in the Netherlands and the UK. It provided literature review, methodology, and the method that will be used to determine sample size of the research. In addition, it provided evaluation of problems that may be encountered when carrying out the research in the future. All these issues were discussed for the purpose of providing guidance to any researcher who may want to conduct a research on the subject.