Caregiver perceptions regarding the experience of and use of mirrors for a person with dementia
ABSTRACT JUNE R. KELSICK
CAREGIVER PERCEPTIONS REGARDING THE EXPERIENCE OF AND USE OF MIRRORS FOR A PERSON
WITH DEMENTIA MAY 2019 The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore caregivers’ perceptions and understandings of the experience of observing a person with dementia viewing self in the mirror. The study was conducted in a large metropolitan city in the Southern region of the United States (U.S.). Participants were recruited from a registered professional national organization headquartered in the U.S. that offers services to caregivers of persons with dementia. To gain insight into the understanding of the experience, caregivers of persons with dementia were recruited as this could not be accomplished by directly interviewing persons with dementia. Purposive sampling was used to secure a sample of approximately 18 caregivers who met the following criteria: have provided needed care and assistance for an individual with dementia, are 18 years and older, are English-speaking and witnessed the person with dementia whom they cared for viewing self in the mirror. Sampling continued until saturation was reached. Data was collected using two instruments developed by the researcher, a demographic data form, and a semi-structured interviews guide. Audio-recorded face-to-face interview lasted approximately 30 minutes. Data analysis was conducted using Ricoeur’s hermeneutic phenomenological theory of interpretation. Structural analysis revealed two themes in the home and long-term care setting consisting of the number of mirrors available and the caregiver’s actions. Mirrors of all types were more readily available in homes versus long-term care settings. Home caregivers more consistently incorporated mirrors in to care, particularly early in the disease trajectory. While some long-term care staff used mirrors to enhance care, it was less consistent, particularly in facilities without mirrors or when dealing with staff who felt mirror viewing was inappropriate for Dementia patients.