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


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.

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Nurses’ experiences of pain management for people with advanced dementia approaching the end of life

De Witt Jansen, B. et al. (2017) Journal of Clinical Nursing. 26(9-10) pp. 1234–1244

Aims and objectives: To explore hospice, acute care and nursing home nurses’ experiences of pain management for people with advanced dementia in the final month of life. To identify the challenges, facilitators and practice areas requiring further support.

Background: Pain management in end-stage dementia is a fundamental aspect of end-of-life care; however, it is unclear what challenges and facilitators nurses experience in practice, whether these differ across care settings, and whether training needs to be tailored to the context of care.

Conclusions: Achieving pain management in practice was highly challenging. A number of barriers were identified; however, the manner and extent to which these impacted on nurses differed across hospice, nursing home and acute care settings. Needs-based training to support and promote practice development in pain management in end-stage dementia is required.

Relevance to clinical practice: Nurses considered pain management fundamental to end-of-life care provision; however, nurses working in acute care and nursing home settings may be undersupported and under-resourced to adequately manage pain in people dying with advanced dementia. Nurse-to-nurse mentoring and ongoing needs-assessed interactive case-based learning could help promote practice development in this area. Nurses require continuing professional development in pharmacology.

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Exploring the impact of dementia-friendly ward environments on the provision of care

Brooke, J. & Semlyen, J. Dementia. Jan 2017 ; p. 1471301216689402

Dementia-friendly wards are recent developments to improve care for patients with dementia in acute hospitals. This qualitative study used focus groups to understand the impact of dementia friendly ward environments on nurses experiences of caring for acutely unwell patients with dementia. Qualified nurses and health care assistants working in an acute NHS Trust in England discussed their perceptions and experiences of working in a dementia-friendly ward environment.

Four themes developed from the thematic analysis:

  1. ‘It doesn’t look like a hospital’: A changed environment,
  2. ‘More options to provide person-centred care’: No one size fits all,
  3. ‘Before you could not see the patients’: A constant nurse presence and
  4. ‘The ward remains the same’: Resistance to change. Recommendations and implementations for practice are discussed.

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