Of the more than 350,000 people living with dementia in Australia, one in 4 will make a visit to a hospital every year. Clinical outcomes for people with dementia are poorer than those for without dementia and include longer stays in hospital, increased rates of treatment complications and higher mortality. Often cognitive impairment related to dementia is not recognised or documented and staff are not educated and skilled in the care and treatment of people with dementia. Work in this dementia stream will focus on: improving assessment, recognition and documentation of cognitive impairment; increased dementia-specific training focused on communication, person-centred approaches and understanding behavioural symptoms; the involvement of carers as partners in care; and the reduction in use of inappropriate drugs such as antipsychotics and sedatives. We will involve carers and consumers in the work of this stream, and focus on translation of best practice to both hospital and community settings. Finally, policies, protocols and procedures in hospital inpatient services often ignore the obvious needs of people with dementia (all the way from the ED to the discharge lounge). Inpatient wards and ambulatory care clinics commonly fail to provide a suitable environment for the cognitively impaired, even though they make up a significant proportion of their clientele. We will work within the BDHP network to facilitate improvements in the physical, personnel and policy environments to assure best practices and a “dementia friendly” become the norm.
Professor Leonard Gray
Masonic Chair in Geriatric Medicine, UQ
Director, Centre for Health Services Research Faculty of Medicine, UQ
Director, Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine, UQ
Director, Centre for Online Health, UQ
Consultant Geriatrician, PAH