Acute awareness: improving hospital care for people with dementia

SCIE Social Care Online
NHS Confederation
Publication date:
01 January 2010


This report looks at the key issues for NHS trusts acting to improve acute care for inpatients with dementia. It showcases the innovative, sometimes quite simple and low cost, examples of good practice from both NHS trusts and cross-agency partnerships. Because dementia is not usually the prime reason for admission to hospital, it is often assumed to be difficult to factor it into a patient’s care programme. However the report shows that improving services for patients with dementia has the potential not only to enhance the quality of their care experience but also to shorten their length of stay and to reduce unnecessary costs. The report concludes with a list of key questions for boards to consider in developing their approach towards caring for patients with dementia, and some suggestions for policy developments that could enhance implementation of the national strategy. Among the topics discussed are: early identification (50% of dementia seen in hospitals is unrecognised at that point); care pathways; training; use of antipsychotic drugs; nutrition; environmental factors; effective discharge; leadership; and involvement of patients and carers.