New thesis on health inequalities in care for persons with dementia
Hi Minh Tuan Hoang, PhD student at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics, NVS. On May 25 you will defend your thesis ”Health Inequalities in care for persons with dementia”, what's the main focus of the thesis?
The overarching objective of my thesis was to examine the health inequality among persons with dementia regarding access to different types of care in Sweden. In separate studies, we focused on inequalities in stroke care and rehabilitation between persons with and without dementia after suffering from stroke. In addition, we assessed the inequalities in dementia diagnostics, drug prescription and long-term care of persons with dementia from different socioeconomic positions or immigration status.
Which are the most important results?
We observed that inequalities in stroke care and rehabilitation occurred among persons with dementia, as shown by their lower inpatient stroke rehabilitation costs and patient satisfaction, compared to general stroke patients who did not have dementia. Regarding socioeconomic positions, persons with dementia from lower education or income levels had significantly lower chance of receiving dementia diagnostics or long-term care. Immigration was found not to significantly affect the dementia diagnostic process or the use of anti-dementia drugs.
How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?
We consider the findings of the thesis from two different perspectives. From a viewpoint of Swedish health care system, we think that inequalities might reveal a gap in the quality of care for persons with dementia, including both dementia care and other types of care, such as stroke care and rehabilitation. Thus, it is necessary for policymakers and health care professionals to evaluate and tailor the provision of care for persons with dementia to optimize their health outcomes and satisfaction. From a global health viewpoint, our findings are a warning for health equality for persons with dementia in other countries, especially in low and middle-income countries. Sweden is well-known with a universal health care system and long tradition of long-term care for persons with dementia. What is the situation in other countries without universal health care system or less developed care system? This is a question that we would like to explore in our next studies.
What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?
My career goal is to improve the quality of care for older people, especially for persons with dementia. Thus, I would like to continue to do research on dementia care, hopefully in high-income countries as well as low- and middle-income countries.