Barriers and Facilitators to Home- and Community-Based Services Access for Persons With Dementia and Their Caregivers
Published in: The Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (2023). doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbad039
Posted on RAND.org on May 04, 2023
The United States has seen increasing shifts toward home- and community-based services (HCBS) in place of institutional care for long-term services and supports. However, research has neglected to assess whether these shifts have improved access to HCBS for persons with dementia. This paper identifies HCBS access barriers and facilitators, and discusses how barriers contribute to disparities for persons with dementia living in rural areas and exacerbate disparities for minoritized populations.
We analyzed qualitative data from 35 in-depth interviews. Interviews were held with stakeholders in the HCBS ecosystem, including Medicaid administrators, advocates for persons with dementia and caregivers, and HCBS providers.
Barriers to HCBS access for persons with dementia range from community and infrastructure barriers (e.g., clinicians and cultural differences), to interpersonal and individual-level barriers (e.g., caregivers, awareness, and attitudes). These barriers affect the health and quality of life for persons with dementia and may affect whether individuals can remain in their home or community. Facilitators included a range of more comprehensive and dementia-attuned practices and services in health care, technology, recognition and support for family caregivers, and culturally competent and linguistically accessible education and services.
System refinements, such as incentivizing cognitive screening, can improve detection and increase access to HCBS. Disparities in HCBS access experienced by minoritized persons with dementia may be addressed through culturally competent awareness campaigns and policies that recognize the necessity of familial caregivers in supporting persons with dementia. These findings can inform efforts to ensure more equitable access to HCBS, improve dementia competence, and reduce disparities.