Improving communication when caring for acutely ill patients with dementia
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Improving communication when caring for acutely ill patients with dementia

Cliff Kilgore Advanced practitioner, intermediate care, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, Poole, Dorset

Cliff Kilgore explains how person-centred care and multiprofessional training can help staff identify if an individual’s health is deteriorating

People living with dementia have complex needs, which may be compounded when they develop an acute illness. It is vital to recognise any deterioration in a patient and respond appropriately to prevent serious complications and, in some cases, mortality. It is necessary for all healthcare professionals to develop assessment skills that take account of potential communication difficulties. This article reviews the literature on communicating with people with dementia, and considers the main issues involved in managing patients with an acute illness who are already living with dementia. The aim is to ensure that nurses consider how they communicate in these situations and to recognise the benefits that can be gained by healthcare professionals and patients from enhanced communication.

Nursing Older People. 27, 4,35-38. doi: 10.7748/nop.27.4.35.e672

Correspondence

cliffordkilgore@hotmail.com

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 22 December 2014

Accepted: 23 March 2015