The effects of involvement in training and volunteering with families of people with dementia on the knowledge and attitudes of volunteers towards dementia

Daphne Sze Ki Cheung, Yuen Wah Ho, Ka Ho Robin Kwok, Daniel Lok Lam Lai, Claudia Kam Yuk Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Background
Volunteers have been a valuable resource in supporting people with dementia and their caregivers in the community. However, factors such as misconceptions, negative attitudes towards dementia, and a lack of motivation might impact the quality of volunteer care. The present paper aims to examine the effect of training and service provision on the knowledge and attitudes of volunteers towards dementia and the association between knowledge and attitudes with the levels of motivation to volunteer.

Methods
The present study is part of an effectiveness-implementation cluster randomized clinical hybrid trial using a music-with-movement intervention to promote the well-being of people with dementia and their informal caregivers. Volunteers were recruited to receive training to support the delivery of the intervention. Training and enrichment workshops were offered to volunteers during the one-year project. Before and after their training and service, the recruited volunteers were asked to complete the following assessments: Dementia Attitudes Scale, and the Alzheimer’s Disease Knowledge Scale. The levels of motivation to volunteer was measured with Volunteer Functions Inventory at baseline. Wilcoxon signed-rank test and multiple regression test were applied for statistical analyses.

Results
A total of 107 volunteers were recruited, and 81 of them completed a mean period of 47.32 weeks of training and service. Significant improvements in their total score on the Alzheimer’s Disease Knowledge Scale (p = .009) and Dementia Attitudes Scale (p 
Conclusions
The present study illustrated the importance of quality volunteer training and voluntary service in improving the dementia knowledge and attitudes of volunteers. It also shed light on the association between knowledge and attitudes with the levels of motivation to volunteer. Accordingly, future research and public health policymakers should address more efforts to amplify the advantage of volunteers as a vital asset in dementia care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • volunteer
  • dementia knowledge
  • dementia attitudes
  • motivation to volunteer
  • training
  • service
  • public health

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