Improving outcomes for people with dementia following a fall

Bamford, C. et al. |  Equipping staff with the skills to maximise recovery of people with dementia after an injurious fall |  Aging & Mental Health | published online: 15 Nov 2018

Abstract
Objectives: People with dementia are more likely to fall and less likely to recover well after a fall than cognitively intact older people. Little is known about how best to deliver services to this patient group. This paper explores the importance of compensating for cognitive impairment when working with people with dementia.

Methods: Qualitative methods – interviews, focus groups and observation – were used to explore the views and experiences of people with dementia, family carers and professionals providing services to people with dementia following an injurious fall. A thematic, iterative analysis was undertaken in which emerging themes were identified from each individual dataset, prior to an integrative analysis.

Results: A key theme across all datasets was the need to deliver services in ways that compensate for cognitive impairment, such as negotiating meaningful activities that can be embedded into the routines of people with dementia. Professionals varied in their ability to adapt their practice to meet the needs of people with dementia. Negative attitudes towards dementia, a lack of knowledge and understanding of dementia limited the ability of some professionals to work in person-centred ways.

Conclusion: Improving outcomes for people with dementia following a fall requires the principles of person-centred care to be enacted by professionals with a generic role, as well as specialist staff. This requires additional training and support by specialist staff to address the wide variability in current practice.

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