Anthony Scerri et al. | Person-centered dementia care in acute hospital wards—The influence of staff knowledge and attitudes | Geriatric Nursing | available online 17 October 2019
- Achieving person-centered dementia care in hospitals is challenging for staff partly due to their lack of educational preparation.
- Only 40% of participants (hospital staff) had previous training in dementia.
- The more the staff were knowledgeable about dementia, the more critical they were about the level of person-centered care they delivered.
- The more positive were the attitudes of the staff towards persons with dementia, the more they perceived were individualizing their care.
Person-centered dementia care practices in acute hospital wards are suboptimal and not commonly measured. Although previous research has indicated that the work environment of staff influences their perceptions of person-centeredness, few studies have examined how their personal attributes, such as their level of dementia knowledge and attitudes, influence their person-centered dementia care practices.
A questionnaire was distributed to test the relationship between staff perceptions of person-centered dementia care and their dementia knowledge and attitudes in general medical wards.
The results showed that staff with better dementia knowledge were significantly more critical about the extent they were using evidence-based guidelines and external expertise. Staff with better attitudes perceived themselves as using more individualized care practices.
The findings demonstrate that to enhance person-centered dementia care in acute hospitals, staff training programs should develop both their intellectual and interpersonal skills to improve their knowledge and attitudes.
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