Competencies for Dementia Knowledge Translation (DKT) include:
- Understanding stakeholder goals and cultures
- Identifying the target audience
- Fostering collaborations between knowledge users and producers
- Translating evidence into policy and practice
- Managing information and knowledge
- Appreciating the unique features of dementia KT
- Using DKT to mitigate stigma and discrimination
These competencies are explained in further detail below.
* Understanding stakeholder goals and cultures
Dementia knowledge translation facilitates the interaction and sharing of information between individuals and groups that may not normally communicate with one another. To foster these interactions, it is imperative to understand the needs of all parties with an interest in DKT, as well as the contexts in which these needs are expressed.
* Identifying the target audience
When practicing dementia knowledge translation and exchange, it is essential to first identify the specific group of people to whom the message is aimed. In DKT, the range of stakeholders is significant – persons with dementia, caregivers, long-term care providers, physicians, researchers and policy makers.
* Fostering collaborations between knowledge users and producers
To improve the quality of life of patients with dementia through shared goals, multiple groups need to work together sharing knowledge and building consensus. These collaborations embrace partnerships and multi-directional communication and can be fostered through national networks such as CDKTN.
* Translating evidence into policy and practice
In order to establish principles by which to guide decisions at the policy level and achieve positive outcomes, research findings should be appropriately translated in a way that makes them accessible to decision-makers and practitioners. This may take many different forms beyond traditional academic products, and should be informed by the end-users of this type of information.
* Appreciating the unique features of dementia KT
While general KT resources may be useful for dementia researchers, dementia KT must pay special attention to the unique features of dementia itself – the changing definitions of dementia, the dynamic changes in cognitive and decision-making abilities of persons with dementia, and the potential for stigma and discrimination. The consideration of these unique features is essential to succeed in DKT.
* Using DKT to mitigate stigma and discrimination
Older adults, and those with dementia in particular, may be stigmatized or discriminated against. Wide dissemination of information about both biological and social features of dementias, as well as targeted knowledge translation efforts to specific communities can mitigate this adversity and improve the quality of life of people with dementia.
DKT Example – Expert Q&A
Dr. Elana Brief from the National Core for Neuroethics at UBC has been heavily involved in the development and implementation of a First Nations community collaborative project on Alzheimer’s. Here, Elana describes how they have incorporated some of the above DKT competencies in their research:
We are collaborating with a Canadian First Nation in which one large family carries a genetic mutation that leads to Early Onset Familial Alzheimer’s Disease (EOFAD). We are using a community-based research approach that is respectful of the Nation’s culture and needs. Knowledge translation and exchange is woven through the entire project, from inception to our intended final products. Our research questions were developed in collaboration with Elders and health care professionals from the Nation:
- Understanding stakeholder goals and cultures. Our goal for the project, based on the mutual interests of the Nation and the Neuroethics Core, is to bring together traditional teachings and Western medicine to aid in decision making for EOFAD prediction, diagnosis and care. We have hired community based researchers and community liaisons from the Nation to assist us in organizing and facilitating our focus groups
- Fostering collaborations between knowledge users and producers. Twice in the three-year project we will be bringing our preliminary analysis back to the members of this Nation to conduct “Collaborative Interpretation Sessions”
- Managing information and knowledge. Through these sessions we engage in a true knowledge exchange as we share our understandings and look to the Nation’s members to help us interpret what we are learning.