The care of older people with dementia in surgical wards from the point of view of the nursing staff and physicians

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Abstract

Aims and objectives.

The aim of this study is to describe the care of older people with dementia in surgical wards from the viewpoint of the nursing staff and physicians.

Background.

There has been little research on the impact of the increasing number of older people with dementia in surgical wards and the preparedness of multi-professional staff caring for them.

Design.

A qualitative, descriptive design was used.

Methods.

The data were collected using unstructured interviews with nursing staff (n = 19) and physicians (n = 9) who participate in caring for people with dementia in surgical wards. The collected data were analysed using inductive content analysis.

Result.

The nursing staff reported that caring for people with dementia was physically and mentally demanding. Physicians regarded memory disorder-related symptoms as primary causes of patients’ challenging behaviour, while in similar situations the nursing staff felt that such behaviour was related to their own personality or a deficiency in their nursing competence. The nursing staff commented that they had not received specific training in caring for people with dementia.

Conclusion.

The study highlights the importance of developing nurses’ skills to meet the current demands of their jobs. Thus, nursing staff urgently require additional training to safely care for this group of patients. In addition, the well-being of nursing staff needs further support, and working practices in the wards should be reviewed.

Relevance to clinical practise.

Education and up-to-date information related to patient care strongly improve the quality of nursing. The results can be applied to the development of competences related to the care of older people with dementia in surgical wards from a multi-professional standpoint.

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