How do quantitative studies involving people with dementia report experiences of standardised data collection? A narrative synthesis of NIHR published studies

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Background: People with dementia are routinely included as research participants in trials and other quantitative studies in which they are invited to respond to standardised measures. This paper reviews the reporting of standardised data collection from people with dementia in reports published in the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Journals Library. The aim was to understand how the administration of standardised, self-report measures with people with dementia is reported in NIHR monographs and what could be learnt from this about the feasibility and acceptability of data collection approaches for future studies.
Methods: This was a systematic review with narrative synthesis. Broad search terms (Dementia OR Alzheimer*) were used to search the NIHR Journals Library website in December 2021. All studies that used (or intended to use) standardised measures to collect research data directly from people with dementia were eligible for inclusion. Information was extracted (where reported) on the process of data collection, dementia severity, levels of missing data and the experiences and reflections of those involved.
Results: Searches returned 42 records, from which 17 reports were assessed as eligible for inclusion, containing 22 studies. Response rates from participants with dementia in these studies varied considerably and appeared to be related to dementia severity and place of residence. Little information was reported on the process of data collection or the reasons for missing data, and most studies did not report the experiences of participants or those administering the measures. However, there was an indication from two studies that standardised data collection could provoke emotional distress in some participants with dementia.
Conclusions: Through this review we identified both variation in levels of missing data and gaps in reporting which make it difficult to ascertain the reasons for this variation. We also identified potential risks to the well-being of participants with dementia which may be associated with the content of standardised measures and the context of data collection. Open reporting of and reflection upon data collection processes and the experiences of people involved is essential to ensure both the success of future data collection and the wellbeing of study participants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Number of pages28
JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2024

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  • Dementia
  • Standardised measures

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