Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 30(4) December 2017 : 45-59.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2017.25449
Nursing Research

Mitigating Moral Distress in Dementia Care: Implications for Leaders in the Residential Care Sector

Shannon Spenceley, Sienna Caspar and Em Pijl


In 2012, the World Health Organization estimated that the number of people living with dementia worldwide was approximately 35.6 million; they projected a doubling of this number by 2030, and tripling by 2050. Although the majority of people living with a dementia live in the community, residential facility care by nursing providers is a common part of the dementia journey in most countries. Previously published research confirms that caring for people living with dementia in such facilities often creates moral distress for nursing care providers. In this paper, the authors share additional findings from a two-year, two-phase, mixed methods study of moral distress as experienced by nursing caregivers of residents with dementia in residential care settings in a Western Canadian province. The findings relate to strategies to reduce moral distress in this caregiving group, with a particular focus on the role of supportive and responsive leadership. Important implications for practice and for leadership in the residential care sector are presented.



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