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Clinical tools and resources

Dementia guidelines, toolkits, measures and other resources for professionals and care workers.

Dementia guidelines

Dementia and delirium in acute care

Dementia care in hospitals needs to be improved to ensure that people living with dementia, their carers and families can expect to receive care of the highest quality.

Any person going into hospital can find the experience stressful. For a person with a cognitive impairment - who may be having difficulty with their memory, thinking or communication - the  experience can be overwhelming.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care acknowledges that patients with cognitive impairment need extra care and supervision to stay safe during their hospital admission. People with dementia are more likely to experience falls, sepsis, pressure ulcers, fractures and delirium while in hospital (resulting in a five-fold increase in mortality rates).

There is potential to improve the ability to identify or respond appropriately to people with dementia. Below are some examples of state-based and national programs. Essentially, the programs share common goals such as to:

  • identify and manage dementia at hospital admission and plan for discharge from the outset
  • involve family carers in the care and support of patients
  • train staff to better understand dementia and communicate more effectively with people with dementia
  • use alternatives, such as psychosocial interventions, to the use of antipsychotic medication and sedatives
  • adapt the hospital physical environment to reduce distractions and help orientate patients with dementia
  • reduce avoidable hospital admissions.
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Last updated
20 March 2024