The increasing needs of people living with dementia (PLWD) in Vietnam present an enormous public health challenge. Vietnam is an understudied country, and little is known regarding the overall unmet needs of caregivers or the demographic risk factors associated with unmet caregiving needs. This study aimed to determine the burden of unmet care needs of community-dwelling PLWD and identify sociodemographic risks associated with unmet care needs.
A cross-sectional study in a rural area facing urbanisation in Hanoi, Vietnam recruited PWLD-caregiver dyads with multistage sampling. We utilised the Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly (CANE) instrument to evaluate care needs across four domains. Caregivers rated PLWD needs, with higher scores indicating greater unmet needs. The Mann–Whitney test was employed for comparing two groups, while the Kruskal–Wallis test was used for comparisons involving more than two groups in the analysis, and a P-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Among 90 PLWD participating in the study, the overall mean care needs score was 11.6 ± 4.3, with only 16.2% of PLWD having their care needs met. Environmental and physical needs were more frequently met than psychological or social needs. Only 48.0% and 43.9% of environmental and physical needs were met respectively, and a meagre 20.9% and 23.6% for psychological and social needs. Unmet care needs were more frequent for PWLD who were female, single or divorced, had lower monthly household income, or who were in more advanced stages of dementia, as indicated by Clinical Dementia Rating scores ≥1.
Unmet needs for PWLD are common. Increased caregiver education, resources, and services in Vietnam are urgently required to improve the quality of life for this population.