A better way to care: safety and quality of patients with cognitive impairment in hospital

Alzheimer's Australia National President, Graeme Samuel AC, today spoke about the importance of good relationships between hospital staff, the person with dementia and their family carers in providing high quality care for people with dementia in hospital at the launch of two cognitive impairment resources by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

Cognitive impairment and its risks are often not recognised in hospital, with nearly 50 per cent of people with dementia not having their dementia documented during their hospital stay. These resources describe a pathway to improve the early recognition and response to patients with cognitive impairment so that they receive safe and high-quality care.

Mr Samuel said: "We know that staff want to do the best job they can. Standards and strategies of the kind that the Commission have produced will give consumers greater confidence that hospitals will be better placed to identify people with cognitive impairment and will know what to do to reduce harm and to improve the quality of care for people with dementia.

"The behaviours of people will no longer be dismissed simply as them being difficult, but related to an understanding that the environment or other issues in their care may be the cause of their problems."

The resources include guides for clinicians and health service managers, as well as a guide for patients and carers, to improve the steps taken to provide safe and high-quality care for patients with cognitive impairment when they are in hospital.

"The launch of these resources sends a powerful message to hospitals that people with dementia matter," Mr Samuel said.


Download a copy of Graeme's full speech here

Download the cognitive impairment resources here

Read the full media release from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care