The perceived and observed needs of patients with dementia admitted to acute medical wards

Scerri, A, Scerri, C and Innes, A ORCID: 2020, 'The perceived and observed needs of patients with dementia admitted to acute medical wards' , Dementia, 19 (6) , pp. 1997-2017.

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It is acknowledged that the needs of persons living with dementia admitted in acute hospitals are not always met. Previous studies have focused on the perceived needs of professional caregivers or family members whilst the voices of patients with dementia in acute hospitals has not been extensively reported. This may have contributed to the under-recognition of the needs of persons living with dementia. The aim of this study was to categorize the perceived and observed needs of persons with dementia admitted in acute medical wards and to explore whether these needs are being or have been met. Thirteen people with dementia in three medical wards who could verbally communicate with the researcher, were purposively selected as research participants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to elicit each participant’s experiences of their hospital stay and whether their needs were perceived to have been/are being met. Moreover, routine care with the same participants was observed using Dementia Care Mapping. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, was used as a framework to categorize care needs. Our findings demonstrate that basic needs such as toileting, feeding, drinking, continence and comfort were not always met. Moreover, the largest gap between met and unmet needs was found in patients who were either under constant observation or unable to communicate. Too much emphasis was perceived and observed to be given on what staff considered as safety needs at the expense of other needs. The patients’ need for social contact and self-esteem such as dignity and respect were often ignored and this led to patients feeling devalued. Hospital staff have to be more aware of the holistic needs of patients with dementia in acute settings and the way care is delivered in order to make up for these unmet needs thus facilitating person-centred care.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: Dementia
Publisher: Sage Publications
ISSN: 1471-3012
Funders: University of Malta
Depositing User: A Innes
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2018 13:02
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 00:24

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