Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) was originally developed as a clinical tool but now is being looked at as a way of measuring the quality of life and well-being of long-term care residents with dementia. You know us in healthcare, we’ve got to have our tools for measuring quality. Some of the issues and problems identified with the DCM tool are:
1. Complex scoring algorithms.
2 Time burden.
3. The ability to compare results across study settings.
Does this sound familiar? Isn’t this what we hear in the trenches from our people working in the field of long-term care? Please do not give me another complicated tool or form to fill out.
Despite these problems, the DCM tool has shown promise as a research measure. However, we are told the promise lies in the manner in which it is applied and if the people using the tool understand what we are trying to measure. Does this sound familiar? Remember in the early days of data entry…”garbage in / garbage out”?
This tool has been in use over many years in memory units. What the researchers have found is that still, the tool is only as good as the staff’s use of the tool. Do you see a pattern?
We struggle in healthcare to continue to change our methods of treatment to fit new research. We have new toolkits, new technology and new ideas. What we have not done is put into place the fundamental idea that each person is different, an individual’s needs are different, and as a result, treatment should be different for each person.
Maybe as healthcare workers, we should just pass out blank pieces of paper (or i-pads) to the residents to write down what they consider quality of life or have staff write what they know about the resident, or what the family knows about the resident’s life.
Wow … hold on a minute! How do you score that? Where is the quality of life measurement?
Here’s a thought … We could place at the bottom of the blank page a measurement indicator. What about a picture? A picture says a lot!
How would you score these pictures? What is the quality indicator? Does this seem to fall in the “life is good” range? If so, keep on keeping on!