What are the factors associated with people with advanced dementia refusing assistance with personal care?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: People with dementia sometimes refuse assistance with personal care activities such as washing or dressing. We aimed to investigate the factors associated with refusals of care in advanced dementia.
METHODS: a cross-sectional study using informant-based measures. Participants were people with advanced dementia and their caregivers (family carers or care-home staff) (n=260, 130 dyads) in the UK. Mixed effects linear models were used to examine the effects of neuropsychiatric behaviours, ability with activities of daily living, professional input, co-morbidities, psychotropic medications, environment modifications, and caregiver factors including type and training status on refusals of care. The Refusal of Care Informant Scale was used, range 1-13; higher scores indicate more refusal behaviours.
RESULTS: higher independence in activities of daily living was associated with less refusal behaviours (coefficient = -0.11, p<0.001 [95% confidence interval -0.15, -0.07]). Higher agitation was associated with more refusal behaviours (0.11, p<0.001 [0.06, 0.15]). No other statistically significant differences were found. There was no demonstrable evidence of differences in number of refusals of care between family and care-home caregivers or between dementia-trained or -untrained caregivers.
CONCLUSIONS: results suggest refusals of care have similar prevalence regardless of caregiver type (family or care home) or dementia training status, indicating that current dementia training has no impact on refusals of care or may not be implemented as intended. Improving independence in activities of daily living and reducing agitations may help prevent refusals of care. To establish causality, future research should consider embedding these factors into interventions targeting refusal of care.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5857
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
Early online date26 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • care home
  • dementia
  • family carer
  • refusals of care
  • resistance-to-care

Cite this