Care of patients with dementia in an acute trauma and orthopaedics unit
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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 Staff nurse, Trauma and Orthopaedics Acute Services, Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Victoria McCrory Staff nurse, Trauma and Orthopaedics Acute Services, Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Mary Lafferty Assistant nursing manager, Trauma and Orthopaedics Acute Services, Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Vivien Coates Florence Nightingale Foundation professor of clinical nursing practice, Ulster University and Western Health and Social Care Trust, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

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. 31, 36, 44-53. doi: 10.7748/ns.2017.e10250

Correspondence

gillian.mccorkell@westerntrust.hscni.net

Peer review

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

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 30 July 2015

Accepted: 01 June 2016

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