Inpatient care for people with dementia: implications for person-centred practice

Findings from a research study into inpatient care for people with dementia have recently been published.

The research study, led by Professor Justine Schneider, University of Nottingham, examined the experiences of staff working directly with older people with dementia in three contrasting inpatient settings to identify what motivates their work and what sustains or hampers them.

The study epmployed researchers as health care assistants in three different inpatient settings for older people with dementia, to explore the following questions:

  1. What motivates staff in these settings?
  2. What obstacles do they encounter?
  3. What do they find stressful and how do they cope?
  4. What appears to promote staff well-being?
  5. What differences exist between different groups of staff (older-younger, male-female, ethnic majority-minority)?
  6. What are the implications of these findings for person-centred care, which is set as a standard of good practice?

The research findings suggest that ‘relationship-centred care’ may be a better framework for understanding the work of health care assistants than ‘person-centred care’ because of the complexity of the network of relationships involved in caring for those with dementia. The research findings concludes that health care assistants make a distinctive contribution to the care experienced by patients and their capabilities directly affect the quality of that care.