MEETINGDEM is a European JPND funded project aimed at implementing and evaluating the innovative Meeting Centers Support Programme (MCSP) for community dwelling people with dementia and their carers. The programme has been developed and evaluated in the Netherlands, and will now be adaptively implemented in three European countries, i.e. Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom. Within each participating country a national project team of at least one research institute will conduct the implementation study.



Being faced with dementia has substantial consequences for both people with dementia and their families. Various support services and psychosocial interventions are available to support them in dealing with the consequences of dementia. However, it is often difficult for people with dementia and their carers to acknowledge having dementia and to ask for help. There is still a taboo on dementia; people are afraid to become dependent on others and fear nursing home admission in particular. Therefore, they tend to delay asking for help, risking overburdening informal carers and ‘accelerated’ nursing home admission. In addition, the available services are often fragmented, making it difficult for people to find the services that fulfil their individual needs and preferences. As a result many of them experience unmet needs.


In recent decades a variety of psychosocial interventions for people with dementia and carers have been developed and evaluated. Several systematic reviews demonstrate that multicomponent support programmes for people with dementia and their carers, including combinations of information, practical, emotional and social support, attuned to the individual needs, are more effective than single support activities for patients or carers.


The predicted increase in the number and proportion of older people with dementia over the next 40 years highlights the need to identify ways to promote timely cost-effective interventions that help people with dementia to continue to live independently in the community as long as possible. In order to address this issue and solve the above mentioned problems, the MCSP offers an integrated package of care and support.



The overall aim of the implementation study MEETINGDEM is to prepare, support and evaluate the dissemination and implementation of the successful multicomponent MCSP for people with dementia and their carers in Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom.



In each participating country the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the implemented MCSP will be evaluated by means of a pretest-posttest control group with matched patient-carer dyads in which the MCSP will be compared with usual care (home care or another type of day care not supporting carer). The user evaluation is assessed by means of oral interviews for all the participants in the support programme and a written questionnaire for the carers. To inventory factors that influence the implementation, key figures are interviewed.



Adaptive implementation of the MCSP in the three participating European countries will have high added value for people with dementia and their carers, as combined multicomponent support is usually not offered in these countries, despite evidence that it is more effective than single support for patients or carers. Thus, implementation of the MCSP, adapted to country specific conditions, has the potential to support and increase quality of life of a substantial number of patient-carer dyads.


Moreover, the MCSP, as shown in the Netherlands, has the potential to improve collaboration between care and welfare organisations, professionals and volunteers. This is also very valuable for care and welfare organisations in other countries, to counteract the present fragmented and inefficient dementia care.


The MCSP model is potentially of high interest for policymakers: repeated research showed that the combined MCSP reduces behavioural and mood problems of patients and carer stress, at lower costs than day care without carer support, resulting in substantial economic savings. MCSP makes it easier for people to ask for help in a timely manner, thus maximising social integration and delaying the use of more expensive residential care. The MCSP is a low-cost model that can be easily replicated by partnerships with existing care and welfare organizations, designing context-specific implementation plans, and a ‘train the trainers’ approach.



In each of the participating countries an implementation plan and materials will be developed first, after which the MCSP will be implemented and evaluated. Based on these evaluations recommendations for implementation of the MCSP across the EU will be provided.

The project will be carried out over a three year period – March 2014 to February 2017.