Professional and family caregivers' attitudes towards involuntary treatment in community-dwelling people with dementia

Angela M. H. J. Mengelers*, Michel H. C. Bleijlevens, Hilde Verbeek, Elizabeth Capezuti, Frans E. S. Tan, Jan P. H. Hamers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims The aim of this study was to gain insight into professional and family caregivers' attitudes towards involuntary treatment in community-dwelling people with dementia (PwD). Background The number of PwD with complex care needs living at home is increasing rapidly. In some situations, caregivers provide care against the will of PwD, referred to as involuntary treatment, which includes non-consensual care, psychotropic medication and physical restraints. Design A cross-sectional study. Methods A total of 228 professional (nursing staff, general practitioners (GPs) and other healthcare professionals such as physical therapists and psychologists) and 77 family caregivers of PwD completed the Maastricht Attitude Questionnaire-Home Care. This questionnaire measures attitudes towards involuntary treatment and perceived restrictiveness of and experienced discomfort in using involuntary treatment. Data were collected in the Netherlands between June and November 2016. Results Family caregivers and GPs had more positive attitudes towards involuntary treatment than nursing staff and other healthcare professionals, indicating that they are more accepting of involuntary treatment. A more positive attitude was associated with higher perceived caregiver burden and being a family caregiver. Family caregivers and GPs found the use of involuntary treatment less restrictive and indicated feeling more comfortable when using these measures. Conclusion It is important to account for the differences in attitudes and foster dialogue among professional and family caregivers to find common ground about alternatives to involuntary treatment. These results will inform the development of an intervention that aims to prevent involuntary treatment in home care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-107
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • caregivers
  • dementia
  • home care
  • involuntary treatment
  • non-consensual care
  • nursing
  • physical restraints
  • psychotropic medication
  • CARE

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