Negative hospital experience with dementia

  • Niall Hunter, Editor

New research has highlighted the need for guaranteed standards of care for older people with dementia at the end of their lives.

This follows research findings which indicated that people with dementia and their families had more negative experiences with hospitals than with nursing home care.

The research recommends the introduction of end-of-life care standards as a matter of urgency because of the huge increases in the number of people affected, and the number likely to be affected into the future.

It is estimated that the number of people with dementia in the Republic of Ireland will rise from 44,000 to 104,000 by 2036 and in Northern Ireland from 16,000 to 47,000 in 2051.

The research – which was funded by the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI) – was prepared by researchers from Belfast and Dublin.

The research drew attention to the importance of agreeing new standards in Ireland, North and South, by proposing guidelines to develop policies and practices that can reflect the best available throughout the world.

The researchers found that that much of the care delivered to residents with dementia at the end-of-life in nursing homes was of a high quality.

In contrast, hospital experiences were reported mostly in negative terms, with some reports of unpleasant experiences for older people with dementia. 

The report pointed out the importance of having an appropriate environment and a staff with the knowledge and skills needed to care for people with dementia.

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