Validation of a competency assessment method for persons with dementia [ 2008 - 2012 ]

Also known as: Testing a better process to dementia if a person with dementia can manage their own financial affairs

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Nancy Pachana (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Gerard Byrne Dr Cheryl Tilse Prof Gill Wilson

Brief description Deciding what if any aspects of their financial affairs a person with dementia or suspected dementia can responsibly manage is a difficult process for health and legal professionals as well as for guardianship boards and tribunals. This process is often stressful for the older person, and families can find deciding when to “take over” stressful. Also, having family members manage the older person’s assets may result in family conflict. There is a small amount of overseas research examining this issue. However, no comprehensive and validated method exists internationally or in Australia to determine competency in this context. We will test a methodology for assessing the capacity of individuals to manage their own financial affairs where dementia is an issue. This method involves the use of a number of reliable and well-validated instruments measuring the older person’s mental state, anxiety levels, depression, and social vulnerability combined with an interview exploring the personal circumstances of the older adult in relation to their financial affairs. We will work with the Office of the Adult Guardian in Queensland to recruit participants and to verify both the utility and usability of our methodology with stakeholders (e.g. solicitors, the Office of the Adult Guardian). A comparison will be made between the results obtained in approximately 200 financial competency cases with the competency opinions independently arrived at by the Office of the Adult Guardian in Queensland. As a result of this research, we will be able to ascertain the viability and utility of this assessment method, improve the method as per the data gathered, and ultimately seek future funding to trial the methods across multiple jurisdictions (e.g. other states) and contexts (e.g. various cultural contexts).

Funding Amount $AUD 580,451.57

Funding Scheme NHMRC Strategic Awards

Notes Dementia Research Grants Program

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