Dutch policy stipulates that people with dementia should remain at home for as long as possible. If they need care, they must preferably appeal to family, friends and neighbours. Professional help and nursing homes are deemed last resorts. Therefore, case managers must coproduce their public services increasingly in healthcare triads with both people with dementia (PWDs) and their informal caregivers. Case managers are professionals who provide and coordinate care and support for PWDs and their informal caregivers during the entire trajectory from (suspected) diagnosis until institutionalisation. The literature on coproduction has focused on the bilateral interactions between service providers and users rather than the multilateral collaborative relationships through which many public services are currently delivered, as is the case in dementia care. Little is known about how frontline workers, case managers in this study, handle conflicts in these healthcare triads. Our study addresses this gap in the coproduction literature and explores the action strategies case managers use to handle conflicts. We interviewed 19 Dutch case managers and observed 10 of their home visits between January and May 2017. We focused on the end stage of dementia at home, just before admission to a nursing home, as we assumed that most conflicts occur in that phase. The findings reveal that the case managers use a variety of action strategies to resolve and intervene in these conflicts. Their initial strategies are in line with the ideals underlying coproduction; however, their successive strategies abandon those ideals and are more focused on production or result from their own lack of power. We also found that current reforms create new dilemmas for case managers. Future research should focus on the boundaries of coproducing public services in triadic relationships and the effects of current welfare reforms aimed at coproducing public services in healthcare triads.
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© 2021 The Authors. Health and Social Care in the Community published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.