Treatment of older people with dementia in surgical wards from the viewpoints of the patients and close relatives

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Abstract

Aims and objectives.

The aim of this study was to describe the treatment of older people with dementia in surgical wards from the viewpoints of the patients and their close relatives.

Background.

Little is known about the impact of the increasing number of older people with dementia on the treatment of patients in acute care.

Design.

A qualitative, descriptive design was used.

Method.

The data were collected using unstructured interviews, which were then subjected to inductive content analysis.

Results.

Support from close relatives was significant for the mental and social wellbeing of older dementia patients during their hospital stay. People with dementia felt insecure in their relatives’ absence, and missed them. For the relatives, the patients’ hospital stay was emotionally heavy. The relatives desired more emotional support from the nursing staff. The participating patients hoped that the nursing staff would spend more time discussing their cases with them. One of the factors that hindered good care of an older person with dementia was use of restraint. Relatives felt that use of restraints violated patients’ dignity.

Conclusions.

To improve the treatment of the people with dementia, the close relatives need to participate in planning the nature of care for the patients.

Relevance to clinical practice.

The results are applicable for efforts to improve the abilities of nursing staff, physicians and close relatives in the treatment of older people with dementia in acute care settings.

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