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''We usually choose safety over freedom'': results from focus groups with professional caregivers in long-term dementia care.

Portegijs, S., Beek, A.P.A. van, Tuyl, L.H.D. van, Wagner, C. ''We usually choose safety over freedom'': results from focus groups with professional caregivers in long-term dementia care. BMC Health Services Research: 2022, 22(1), Art. nr. 677
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Background
People with dementia living in nursing homes are mostly sedentary, which is a consequence of various personal, environmental and organizational factors. Until now, studies on physical activity and safety in dementia have focused on residents and caregivers from the viewpoint of (individual) care provision and health benefits. There has been little to no focus on the possible influence of group dynamics between care providers with regard to physical activity and safety. The aim of this study is to gain more insight into the viewpoints and intentions of groups of professional caregivers towards safety and physical activity and the potential influence of the group-oriented setting in long-term care on physical activity of individual residents.

Methods
A qualitative study comprising three focus group discussions including professional caregivers (n = 15) was conducted within two long-term care organizations in the Netherlands. Focus group discussions were structured using an interview guide derived from a preliminary framework, based on existing literature and complemented with clinical expertise.

Results
Seven themes could be derived from the focus group discussions that influence physical activity and safety: 1) Individual health and abilities; 2) Balancing physical activity and safety; 3) Physical restraints; 4) Group interests versus the individual interests; 5) Organization of care and physical environment; 6) Perceived responsibilities and tasks of professional caregivers and 7) Change is challenging.

Conclusions
Due to multiple influencing factors, the balance for care providers in long-term care generally tends towards safety over physical activity. Furthermore, in order to stimulate physical activity various limitations are experienced, including the organization of care, the general health of the residents and difficulty to achieve changes in daily care. Most importantly, the group interests of both the professional caregivers and the residents have a substantial influence on the incorporation of physical activity in daily care.