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Working with older people with dementia: motivations and demotivations among health carers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sara Cheloni, Anthea Tinker

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalWorking with Older People
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2019

King's Authors


Purpose: Motivation is central to the ongoing professional development, performance and retention of healthcare workers. Despite the increasing prevalence of people with dementia (PwD) and the associated demand for geriatric nurses, there exists a paradoxical shortage. The purpose of this paper is to explore the motivation and demotivation of healthcare professionals for working with older PwD, challenges faced, factors influencing intention to leave the field of work and methods to enhance staff motivation to continue working with this group. Design/methodology/approach: This grounded-theory study used thematic analysis to synthesise data from 13 semi-structured interviews relating to the motivating and demotivating factors of healthcare professionals (nurses and healthcare assistants) for working with older PwD in a hospital setting. Findings: Staff were motivated by previous personal experiences, personal characteristics and the fulfilment of the carer–patient relationship. Conversely, staff were mostly demotivated by organisational and working environment factors (e.g. poor leadership characteristics, inadequate staffing levels, lack of development opportunities), negatively influencing their intention to remain in employment. Research limitations/implications: The generalisability of the results is limited by the size of the sample. Different organisational strategies/interventions (i.e. support, training, recognition and rewards) are necessary to nurture staff motivation, improve retention, create positive working environments and enhance patient care. Originality/value: This study offers numerous ways in which to address factors contributing to demotivation in working with PwD, thereby helping to improve staff retention and support the needs of a growing population.

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