Successful Linkage Between Formal and Informal Care Systems
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Health interventions are currently being revamped to address the specific needs of chronic illness and population aging. In this context, focus has increasingly turned to Alzheimer-type dementia, an illness that is considered to mobilize a large number of social actors into long-term involvement of varying intensity. Linkage problems between families and professional systems have been well documented, yet the reasons for this remain relatively unexplored. In this article, we outline how we used social network data and narrative methods to better understand the linkage processes between formal and informal care systems. We present the trajectories of four caregivers of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease who were able to establish relationships with resources outside the family. In each of the cases, the dimensions of trust and recognition were central to establishing and maintaining supportive relationships, and must therefore be understood in light of social network dynamics and the broader environment. Although preliminary, this study contributes to the state of knowledge on linkage problems by proposing "bottom-up" solutions that are client centered.
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