Using Journey Mapping to support staff, family members and allies of people with dementia to think and act differently during a care transition: The benefits and limits of care imagination
Research methods are not just for data collection, but can also be engaged in to promote more immediate benefits for participants and to create social change. This paper reports on how journey mapping was used with staff and family members of people with dementia in a residential aged care facility in regional NSW, Australia. The study was conducted in the context of a care transition, where residents, including people with dementia moved from an existing site to another new facility. Care transitions are frequent yet difficult for people with dementia to negotiate, so it was important to predict their nature and understand what might make the move easier. We used an innovative visual method known as ‘journey mapping’ to engage 45 staff and 18 family members to inform supports for 30 people with dementia, who had been identified as needing additional support during the planned transition. The journey mapping process was useful for fostering the caring imagination and encouraging active and creative planning around change for the people with dementia. It also highlighted the entrenched inequalities in the aged care sector, where poorly paid staff wanted to enact broad ranging supports but felt unsupported to do so. In other words, to improving and re-imagining transitional care for people with dementia requires structural and systemic change rather than just localised re-imaginings. .