Care of patients with dementia in an acute trauma and orthopaedics unit
Evidence & Practice    

Care of patients with dementia in an acute trauma and orthopaedics unit

Gillian McCorkell Lead nurse, Research and Development, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Deirdre Harkin
Victoria McCrory
Mary Lafferty
Vivien Coates

Aim To increase awareness of the needs of patients with dementia in the trauma and orthopaedics unit of one acute hospital, and to collaborate with staff on the unit to identify ways of improving the care experienced by these patients and their families.

Method An action research approach was used and three action research cycles were completed. Data were obtained retrospectively for 20 patients with dementia who were admitted to the unit for treatment. Deficiencies in the care of these patients were identified and related to communication, pain management and the recognition of delirium. In response, a dementia toolkit was developed by nurses and implemented on the unit to improve the care of patients with dementia.

Findings Comparison of pre-implementation and post-implementation audit results indicated a significant improvement in all aspects of care for patients with dementia in the trauma and orthopaedics unit, as a result of the implementation of the dementia toolkit. Education and training were provided to staff on the ward to ensure the toolkit was implemented appropriately.

Conclusion It is important to consider the specific needs of patients with dementia in acute care settings, not only the primary reason for their admission. The involvement and inclusion of staff in determining what change was needed on the unit, how change would be undertaken and the positive effects of change, demonstrates how action research can inform and improve clinical practice.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2017.e10250


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Received: 30 July 2015

Accepted: 01 June 2016

Published online: 26 April 2017