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When people with dementia are perceived as witches. Consequences for patients and nurse education in South Africa.
J Clin Nurs. 2018 Jan; 27(1-2):e169-e176.JC

Abstract

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

To explore and describe the link between culture and dementia care with the focus on the influence of the belief in dementia as witchcraft and people with dementia as witches.

BACKGROUND

In South Africa, especially in townships and rural areas, dementia is often perceived as connected to witchcraft rather than to disease. Persons labelled as witches-mostly older women-may be bullied, ostracised, beaten, stoned, burned, even killed.

METHOD

One strand of findings from a larger international study is presented with in-depth qualitative interviews of one close family member and seven nurses caring for patients with severe dementia in nursing homes in Tshwane in South Africa. A hermeneutic analytic approach was used.

RESULTS

Two main themes are found, namely "Belief in witchcraft causing fear of persons with dementia" and "Need of knowledge and education." Fear of and violence towards people with dementia are based on the belief that they are witches. Some of the nurses had also held this belief until they started working with patients with dementia. There is a great need for education both among healthcare workers and the populace.

DISCUSSION

The "witch" belief prevents seeking professional help. As nursing homes tend to be private and expensive, professional dementia care is virtually unattainable for the poor. Dementia needs a more prominent place in nursing curricula. Nurses as educators need to know the local culture and language to be accepted in the various communities. They need to visit families affected by dementia, give awareness talks in churches, schools and clinics and facilitate support groups for carers of people with dementia in the local language.

CONCLUSION

Improved nurses' education in gerontology and geriatric care is needed. Trained specialist nurses may work as mediators and help eradicate the witchcraft beliefs connected to severe dementia.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Sefako Makgatha Health Service University, Pretoria, South Africa.Lovisenberg Diaconal University College, Oslo, Norway.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

28557051

Citation

Mkhonto, Flora, and Ingrid Hanssen. "When People With Dementia Are Perceived as Witches. Consequences for Patients and Nurse Education in South Africa." Journal of Clinical Nursing, vol. 27, no. 1-2, 2018, pp. e169-e176.
Mkhonto F, Hanssen I. When people with dementia are perceived as witches. Consequences for patients and nurse education in South Africa. J Clin Nurs. 2018;27(1-2):e169-e176.
Mkhonto, F., & Hanssen, I. (2018). When people with dementia are perceived as witches. Consequences for patients and nurse education in South Africa. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(1-2), e169-e176. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.13909
Mkhonto F, Hanssen I. When People With Dementia Are Perceived as Witches. Consequences for Patients and Nurse Education in South Africa. J Clin Nurs. 2018;27(1-2):e169-e176. PubMed PMID: 28557051.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - When people with dementia are perceived as witches. Consequences for patients and nurse education in South Africa. AU - Mkhonto,Flora, AU - Hanssen,Ingrid, Y1 - 2017/11/20/ PY - 2017/05/06/accepted PY - 2017/5/31/pubmed PY - 2018/6/12/medline PY - 2017/5/31/entrez KW - cultural issues KW - dementia KW - education KW - elder care SP - e169 EP - e176 JF - Journal of clinical nursing JO - J Clin Nurs VL - 27 IS - 1-2 N2 - AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore and describe the link between culture and dementia care with the focus on the influence of the belief in dementia as witchcraft and people with dementia as witches. BACKGROUND: In South Africa, especially in townships and rural areas, dementia is often perceived as connected to witchcraft rather than to disease. Persons labelled as witches-mostly older women-may be bullied, ostracised, beaten, stoned, burned, even killed. METHOD: One strand of findings from a larger international study is presented with in-depth qualitative interviews of one close family member and seven nurses caring for patients with severe dementia in nursing homes in Tshwane in South Africa. A hermeneutic analytic approach was used. RESULTS: Two main themes are found, namely "Belief in witchcraft causing fear of persons with dementia" and "Need of knowledge and education." Fear of and violence towards people with dementia are based on the belief that they are witches. Some of the nurses had also held this belief until they started working with patients with dementia. There is a great need for education both among healthcare workers and the populace. DISCUSSION: The "witch" belief prevents seeking professional help. As nursing homes tend to be private and expensive, professional dementia care is virtually unattainable for the poor. Dementia needs a more prominent place in nursing curricula. Nurses as educators need to know the local culture and language to be accepted in the various communities. They need to visit families affected by dementia, give awareness talks in churches, schools and clinics and facilitate support groups for carers of people with dementia in the local language. CONCLUSION: Improved nurses' education in gerontology and geriatric care is needed. Trained specialist nurses may work as mediators and help eradicate the witchcraft beliefs connected to severe dementia. SN - 1365-2702 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28557051/When_people_with_dementia_are_perceived_as_witches__Consequences_for_patients_and_nurse_education_in_South_Africa_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.13909 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -