Experiences and Needs of Relatives of People with Dementia in Acute Hospitals

The purpose of this meta-synthesis was to present an in-depth analysis of existing qualitative literature concerning experiences and needs of the relatives of patients with dementia in hospitals | Journal of Clinical Nursing

Background: Relatives are an important resource for the care of patients with dementia in hospitals. They provide necessary information about the patient and can support the patient’s care. Simultaneously, they are themselves vulnerable, having specific needs and experiences. A number of studies have been conducted that focus on the perspectives of the relatives. The synthesis of qualitative studies contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of recent study findings.

Results: Relatives of patients with dementia frequently experience a negative cycle of specific worries, negative feelings and resulting roles and functions in hospital due to negative care experiences.

Conclusions: Experiences of relatives are strongly influenced by the attitudes, expertise and communication that they receive from health professionals working in the hospital. The results clearly show how health professionals have the potential to break through the negative cycle and contribute to a more positive feeling about a patient’s hospital stay.

Relevance to clinical practice: Structured and individually planned involvement of the relatives during the hospital care seems to be a key aspect for improving the experiences for the relatives and the patients with dementia. Collaboration with the relatives needs to be valued and supported by the organisation. Also a professional and defined frame for this area of responsibility needs to be provided.

Full reference: Burgstaller, M. et al. (2017) Experiences and Needs of Relatives of People with Dementia in Acute Hospitals – A Meta-Synthesis of Qualitative Studies. Journal of Clinical Nursing. DOI: 10.1111/jocn.13934


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