Sarah Goldberg is Associate Professor in older persons care at the University of Nottingham. Her research interests are the acute hospital care of cognitively impaired older patients, particularly those with dementia.
There is a need for more training in dementia care in the acute hospital but, with the pressure on hospital budgets, very little time or resources to deliver such training. Many dementia training materials have been developed in the community, but the needs of people with dementia in the acute hospital are very different to those in the community.
The hospital is a very busy, noisy, crowded environment where multiple healthcare professionals may be questioning the patient; there is little time for staff to get to know the patient, and for the patient to get to know and feel comfortable with staff. On top of this, memory problems mean that much medical history is forgotten by the patient with dementia and cognitive problems can result in the patient misinterpreting staff behaviours and becoming agitated or distressed.