[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 11, June 2012].
This article addresses the responsibility to equip staff with the right communications skills and strategies to cater for the needs of growing numbers of patients with dementia who will be admitted to hospital.
Not all staff will have had training in dementia care or awareness in many hospitals. The author describes how nurse managers in acute settings can prepare nurses to manage patients with dementia. She offers advice on identifying patients’ diagnosis on admission, working with carers and encouraging their contributions to care.
Re-design of the care environment and systems can encourage rest, good eating and drinking, and reduce confusion or agitation. The importance of establishing a rapport with patients is not overlooked. Patient activity is to be encouraged. Patients may “wander”, and managers should teach staff how to carry out risk assessments for this while understanding that wandering can be positive if benign.
“Benign wandering is used to describe patients who are stretching their legs, simply being curious, are consciously choosing to exercise, or want a change of scenery out of boredom. The opposite would be a patient pacing about in pain and discomfort, needing the toilet and unable to find it, or crying out or being agitated”. (p.19)
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June, A. (2012). How acute care managers can support patients with dementia. Nursing Management, May 2012; Vol.19(2): 18-20.