What is the current state of care for older people with dementia in general hospitals? A literature review
This paper summarises a literature review focusing on the literature directly pertaining to the acute care of older people with dementia in general hospitals from 2007 onwards. Following thematic analysis, one overarching theme emerged: the consequences of being in hospital with seven related subthemes. Significantly, this review highlights that overall there remains mostly negative consequences and outcomes for people with dementia when they go into general hospitals. Although not admitted to hospital directly due to dementia, there are usually negative effects on the dementia condition from hospitalisation. The review suggests this is primarily because there is a tension between prioritisation of acute care for existing co-morbidities and person-centred dementia care. This is complicated by insufficient understanding of what constitutes person-centred care in an acute care context and a lack of the requisite knowledge and skills set in health care practitioners. The review also reveals a worrying lack of evidence for the effectiveness of mental health liaison posts and dementia care specialist posts in nursing. Finally, although specialist posts such as liaison and clinical nurse specialists and specialist units/shared care wards can enhance quality of care and reduce adverse consequences of hospitalisation (they do not significantly) impact on reducing length of stay or the cost of care.