What are the issues?
Dementia is one of the most important issues we face as the population ages. There are currently approximately 820,000 people with dementia living in the UK, including 16,000 people under the age of 65. This figure is set to rise to approximately 2 million by 2033.
Improving the quality of care in general hospitals has been identified as a priority within national dementia strategies. Up to 70 per cent of acute hospital beds are occupied by older people, approximately 40 per cent of whom have dementia. However, patients who have dementia experience many more complications and stay longer in hospital than patients without dementia. It is also estimated that 30% of people will die with dementia and many of these die in general hospital settings.
This poses a key challenge as acute general hospital settings are often not conducive to the needs of people with dementia. As recent findings from the National Audit of Dementia have identified significant difficulties with achieving good quality care for people with dementia in hospitals, it is essential that this issue is addressed.
Collaboratively tackling the issues
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is leading a project, supported by the Department of Health, on the care of people with dementia in general hospital settings and will be working collaboratively with members and stakeholders from all regions to develop and disseminate this work.
The RCN is keen to identify and gather evidence of best practice that promotes dignity for people with dementia and improves understanding of dementia care in acute care settings. This might include examples of practice which have either been in place for some time or initiatives and innovations that have been implemented.
The RCN has recently launched a survey www.rcn.org.uk/dementia and responses are invited before 16th June 2011. If you choose to complete the information about yourself, you will be entered into a prize draw to win £100 Marks and Spencer’s vouchers.
Your experiences are very important in helping the RCN to find out what really makes a difference to the delivery of care for people with dementia in these settings. The responses you provide will help in developing guidance and resources for the improvement of care for people with dementia and their families.
Please contact Nikki Mills, Project Administrator – firstname.lastname@example.org