Almost a year on from my last post here and I’ve done a lot of work on my developing my research proposal – reading, learning, literature reviewing – but sadly not a lot has changed for people with dementia in acute hospitals. My desire to improve the quality of care, especially at meal times has certainly grown.
So it’s been a few months since the last update on our work, so where are we now?
Well our Younger Onset Dementia Assessment project is now starting to interview patients, carers and clinicians about their experiences of care in younger onset dementia. This will help define our assessment toolkit for testing and implementation in a wider group of people with younger onset dementia. An important part of this study will be to improve the recording of quality of life (QoL) in people with younger dementia, and helping better understand what factors influence QoL in this particular group of patients and their carers.
When people with dementia get admitted to hospital, their need for fundamental care can be high. Everyone coming in to hospital wants to be treated with respect and dignity by health care workers who have the time, resources and training needed to keep them safe and well cared for. But having dementia can put people at higher risk of not having these needs met.
By Claire Ballinger and Mark Stafford-Watson – Chairs, Wessex Inclusion in Service Design and Delivery (WISeRD) group
It’s the end of our first year in CLAHRC Wessex, we have been thinking about our progress in involving patients and the public in our work (or PPI as it’s called), and reviewing where our focus should be for the coming year. We have settled on five strategic aims:
- Develop our capacity for patient and public involvement (PPI) in research and implementation programmes
- Promote our CLAHRC Wessex activities to the wider public (public engagement)
- Evolve and measure ways to include patients and the public to identify research priorities
- Develop a group of patient and public researchers
- Measure the impact of patient and public involvement within CLAHRC Wessex
Poor nutrition in hospital inpatients is a problem that is becoming increasingly recognised both in the UK and worldwide, and requires a multifaceted approach, including protected meal times, red trays and protein and energy supplementation as required. One factor that particularly affects older inpatients is the amount of assistance they receive at mealtimes. Time-pressured nursing staff may not have the time they need to help patients with their meals.
When dementia occurs in people under the age of 65 years, it often presents in unusual and diagnostically challenging ways. There may be changes in language, behaviour or navigation difficulties, and frequently, it’s not Alzheimer’s disease, but other forms of dementia such as frontotemporal dementia.