Cross-sector learning collaboratives can improve post-diagnosis care integration for people with young onset dementia

Sally Day, Leah Couzner, Kate E. Laver, Adrienne Withall, Brian Draper, Monica Cations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Post-diagnosis young onset dementia (YOD) care is often fragmented, with services delivered across aged care, healthcare, and social care sectors. The aim of this project was to test the feasibility and potential effectiveness of a learning collaborative implementation strategy for improving the cross-sector integration of care for people with YOD and to generate data to refine the implementation strategy for scaleup. We conducted a longitudinal mixed methods process evaluation and recruited one representative from three Australian aged care organisations, three disability care organisations and three organisations (n = 9) contracted to deliver care navigation services. One representative from each organisation joined a learning collaborative within their local area and completed a six-module online education package incorporating written resources, webinars, collaboration and expert mentoring. Participants identified gaps in services in their region and barriers to care integration and developed a shared plan to implement change. Normalisation Process Theory was applied to understand the acceptability, penetration and sustainability of the implementation strategy as well as barriers and enabling factors. Dementia knowledge measured by the Dementia Knowledge and Awareness Scale was high among the professionals at the start of the implementation period (mean = 39.67, SD = 9.84) and did not change by the end (mean = 39.67, SD = 8.23). Quantitative data demonstrated that clinicians dedicated on average half of the recommended time commitment to the project. However, qualitative data identified that the learning collaborative strategy enhanced commitment to implementing integrated care and promoted action towards integrating previously disparate care services. Participant commitment to the project was influenced by their sense of obligation to their team, and teams that established clear expectations and communication strategies early were able to collaborate and use the implementation plan more effectively (demonstrating collective action). Teams were less likely to engage in the collective action or reflexive monitoring required to improve care integration if they did not feel engaged with their learning collaborative. Learning collaboratives hold promise as a strategy to improve cross-sector service collaboration for people with YOD and their families but must maximise group cohesion and shared commitment to change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e6135-e6144
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number6
Early online date30 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Aged care
  • dementia
  • disability
  • integrated care
  • post-diagnosis care
  • young onset dementia


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