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The Case for Evaluating Process and Worth: Evaluation of a Programme for Carers and People with Dementia

Case Study Evaluation: Past, Present and Future Challenges

ISBN: 978-1-78441-064-3, eISBN: 978-1-78441-063-6

Publication date: 3 January 2015


A case study methodology was applied as a major component of a mixed-methods approach to the evaluation of a mobile dementia education and support service in the Bega Valley Shire, New South Wales, Australia. In-depth interviews with people with dementia (PWD), their carers, programme staff, family members and service providers and document analysis including analysis of client case notes and client database were used.

The strengths of the case study approach included: (i) simultaneous evaluation of programme process and worth, (ii) eliciting the theory of change and addressing the problem of attribution, (iii) demonstrating the impact of the programme on earlier steps identified along the causal pathway (iv) understanding the complexity of confounding factors, (v) eliciting the critical role of the social, cultural and political context, (vi) understanding the importance of influences contributing to differences in programme impact for different participants and (vii) providing insight into how programme participants experience the value of the programme including unintended benefits.

The broader case of the collective experience of dementia and as part of this experience, the impact of a mobile programme of support and education, in a predominately rural area grew from the investigation of the programme experience of ‘individual cases’ of carers and PWD. Investigation of living conditions, relationships, service interactions through observation and increased depth of interviews with service providers and family members would have provided valuable perspectives and thicker description of the case for increased understanding of the case and strength of the evaluation.




The clients of the MRT service welcomed the evaluators into their homes, gave of their time and generously shared, and in many cases ‘re-lived’ their experiences in the telling of their stories with an openness and honesty that enabled an in-depth insight into their journey with dementia and the impact of the programme on their lives. The participation of carers, people with dementia they are caring for and other family members was very much appreciated.

I am thankful for the engagement and support of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, the client, in the evaluation and in review of this chapter including: the MRT team of Nola Hergenhan and June Madden, regional manager Barbra Williams and state manager Robyn Faine.

The editors’ comments on earlier versions of this chapter have greatly improved its clarity and quality for which I am grateful.


Abbato, S. (2015), "The Case for Evaluating Process and Worth: Evaluation of a Programme for Carers and People with Dementia", Case Study Evaluation: Past, Present and Future Challenges (Advances in Program Evaluation, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 107-131.



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