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Open Access Project Note

Low-threshold support for families with dementia in Germany

Iris Hochgraeber1*, Sabine Bartholomeyczik12 and Bernhard Holle1

Author affiliations

1 German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Witten, Germany

2 School of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health, Witten/Herdecke University, Witten, Germany

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Citation and License

BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:317  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-317

Published: 21 June 2012



Low-threshold support services are a part of the German health care system and help relieving family caregivers. There is limited information available on how to construct and implement low-threshold support services for people with dementia and their families in Germany. Some studies describe separately different perspectives of experiences and expectations, but there is no study combining all the different perspectives of those involved and taking the arrangements and organisation as well as their opinions on supporting and inhibiting factors into consideration.


This protocol describes the design of the study on low-threshold support services for families with a person with dementia in two German regions. The aim is to develop recommendations on how to build up these services and how to implement them in a region. A quantitative as well as a qualitative approach will be used. The quantitative part will be a survey on characteristics of service users and providers, as well as health care structures of the two project regions and an evaluation of important aspects derived from a literature search. Group discussions and semi-structured interviews will be carried out to get a deeper insight into the facilitators and barriers for both using and providing these services. All people involved will be included, such as the people with dementia, their relatives, volunteers, coordinators and institution representatives.


Results of this study will provide important aspects for policymakers who are interested in an effective and low-threshold support for people with dementia. Furthermore the emerging recommendations can help staff and institutions to improve quality of care and can contribute to developing health and social care structures in Germany.

Dementia; Study protocol; Community care service