Integration of Dementia Systems in Central America: A Social Network Approach



Curreri NA, Griffiths D & Mccabe L (2024) Integration of Dementia Systems in Central America: A Social Network Approach. International Journal of Integrated Care, 24 (1).;

Introduction: Action 3 of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing plan is to deliver integrated care to improve older adults’ lives. Integrated care is vital in meeting the complex needs of people with dementia but little is known about how this is or could be delivered in low and middle income countries (LMIC). This paper provides insights into previously unknown care system structures and on the potential and reality of delivering integrated care in Central America for people with dementia. Methods: A social network analysis (SNA) methodology was adopted to engage with providers of services for older adults and families with dementia in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama. Sixty-eight (68) semi-structured interviews were completed, 57 with organisations and 11 with families. Results: Across the five countries there was evidence of fragmentation and low integration within the dementia care systems. A variety of services and types of providers are present in all five countries, and high levels of diversified connections exist among organisations of differing disciplines. However, unawareness among network members about other members that they could potentially form active links with is a barrier on the path to integration. Conclusion: This innovative and robust study demonstrates SNA can be applied to evaluate LMIC care systems. Findings provide baselines of system structures and insights into where resources are needed to fortify integration strategies. Results suggest that Central American countries have the building blocks in place to develop integrated care systems to meet the needs of people with dementia, but the links across service providers are opportunistic rather than context based coordinated integration policies.

Health Policy; Sociology and Political Science; Health (social science)

International Journal of Integrated Care: Volume 24, Issue 1

Publication date28/02/2024
Publication date online28/02/2024
Date accepted by journal08/02/2024
PublisherUbiquity Press, Ltd.
Publisher URL
ISSN of series1879-2529

People (3)


Miss Alhena Curreri

Miss Alhena Curreri

Research Assistant, Dementia and Ageing

Dr David Griffiths

Dr David Griffiths

Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Professor Louise McCabe

Professor Louise McCabe

Professor, Dementia and Ageing