Building capacity for dementia screening and intervention in low income, rural communities: A collaborative initiative

Elsevier, International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences, Volume 7, 2017, Pages 43-49
Celeste A. de Jager, Katy Pepper

This study describes an innovative programme for caring for older people and people affected by dementia in one isolated rural community in South Africa. It combines the expertise of three separate agencies to survey, identify and provide a package of care and support for the elderly. It is a collaborative approach which brings together the research skills and academic rigor of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT); the specific expertise and social work-oriented knowledge of Dementia SA (DSA), a leading proponent of Dementia care in South Africa; and the rural based Donald Woods Foundation (DWF) who manage a unique health programme with community health workers using information technology to identify, locate, record and monitor the health of every household in their catchment community.

This account describes the challenges faced in working in a rural area while using collaborative methods to build capacity amongst community health outreach workers (CHOWs) in identifying those at risk of dementia and in providing care and support to them and their families. This collaborative model presents the types of interventions that are possible with limited resources and may prove useful to future studies in the developing world.