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Promoting respite for carers of people with dementia: a case study of social marketing effectiveness in hard to reach audiences

Lyn Phillipson (School of Health and Society, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia and Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia)
Danika Valerie Hall (School of Health and Society, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia)
Keryn Marie Johnson (School of Health and Society, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia)
Elizabeth Cridland (Older People’s Mental Health Service, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW, Australia)
Elaine Fielding (School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Christine Neville (School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
Helen Hasan (Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia)

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Article publication date: 19 April 2022

Issue publication date: 12 October 2022

231

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to describe the development and approach of a theory-informed social marketing intervention that aimed to promote respite for carers of people with dementia. Despite a high need for respite, carers of people with dementia are often low users of available respite services. The reasons for this are complex, including knowledge, attitudinal, behavioural and systemic barriers. In the context of an aging population, effective strategies to support respite use by carers of people with dementia are needed.

Design/methodology/approach

Via formative research, the authors gained an in-depth understanding of a hard-to-reach and vulnerable group (carers of people with dementia). The resulting intervention informed, persuaded and supported carers to rethink the use of respite addressing specific barriers to service use. The intervention was evaluated using a naturalistic effects model.

Findings

Carers of people with dementia who were exposed to community-level campaign activities and also self-selected to take part in tailored coaching showed improvements to their respite knowledge, attitudes and self-efficacy. Intention to use respite and levels of personal gain from caring also increased. In contrast, carers only exposed to informational activities experienced negative changes to their respite beliefs and their sense of role captivity.

Practical implications

Social marketing can be used to support carer respite knowledge, attitudes and service-use behaviours in carers of people with dementia. The case study highlights an untapped role for social marketers to work in partnership with health professionals to support improvements in aged care services.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first known social marketing intervention promoting the use of respite to carers of people with dementia. Findings demonstrate that tailored support services are most effective in helping carers navigate and use respite services.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the local support services, carer support groups, carers and people with dementia in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions who assisted with the distribution and completion of surveys.

Declarations: Ethics approval and consent to participate: The study protocol and materials were approved by the University of Wollongong Human Research Ethics Committee (HE15/027). All participants provided written consent.

Conflict of interest: The authors declare they have no competing interests.

Citation

Phillipson, L., Hall, D.V., Johnson, K.M., Cridland, E., Fielding, E., Neville, C. and Hasan, H. (2022), "Promoting respite for carers of people with dementia: a case study of social marketing effectiveness in hard to reach audiences", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 456-472. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSOCM-06-2021-0121

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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