The experience of people with dementia and nurses in hospital

Digby, R. et al. (2017) Journal of Clinical Nursing. 26(9-10) pp. 1152–1171

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Aims and objectives: To identify and examine existing research exploring how people with dementia and nurses view acute hospital care.

Background: Admission to hospital can be traumatic for a person with dementia due to an inability to cope with unfamiliar environments, faces and routines. Adverse behavioural and health outcomes can result. Dementia adds complexity to patient care. Inability to deliver appropriate care is a source of stress and frustration for nurses.

Conclusions: Nurses require improved education and support to care for patients with dementia. Hospitals must focus on genuine caring concurrently with rapid discharge requirements, risk mitigation and fiscal restraint. More research is needed to inform the development of appropriate care for people with dementia in hospitals.

Relevance to clinical practice: Nurses must understand the complex needs of people with dementia in hospital. Nurse education about dementia, practical support, strong clinical leadership and role-modelling is needed. Empathy for patients regardless of diagnosis must remain a core attribute of nurses. Current hospital culture requires wider system review to mitigate against stigmatisation of patients with dementia.

Read the full abstract here

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