Dementia: a guide to improving quality of care in general hospitals

For someone who has a dementia, who may be on the edge of his or her limits of coping at home in a familiar environment, who is seeing the same people and doing the same things each day, the effect of going into hospital can be overwhelming.

What happens in general hospitals can have a profound and permanent effect on individuals with a dementia and their families, not only in terms of their inpatient experience, but also their ongoing functioning, relationships, wellbeing, quality of life and the fundamental decisions that are made about their future.

It is vital that all staff see beyond the label of ‘dementia’ to work with patients and their families in all the complexity of their individual needs. And there is growing evidence on the measures that can be most effective in meeting the needs of people with dementia in acute settings.

A new guide, called Improving quality of care for people with dementia in general hospitals, published by the RCN, outlines key aspects such as environment, communication, assessment, sound care practices, rehabilitative and supportive approaches and effective multi-professional team working.

Offering effective care to people with dementia in general hospitals can reduce the trauma of a hospital admission, the length of the inpatient stay and other healthcare-related complications, and enhance the health, wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and their families.

To read the guide, which is supported by the Department of Health, scroll below.

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