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Facilitating continence for people with dementia in acute hospital settings

Going to the toilet in private is one of the most fundamental measures of human dignity, and incontinence can impact on feelings of being a person.

When people living with dementia are admitted to hospital wards, continence care can lead to significant distress and anxiety:

  • for patients themselves, if immediate toileting assistance needs are not met
  • for families, who see their loved one in undignified circumstances
  • for other patients, who may become afraid by another person’s distress.

It can also increase the potential for dehumanisation, where staff do not recognise the person or their needs.

The aim of this project is to provide a detailed understanding of how hospital care could change to improve care and the experiences of patients and their families, and to develop new training and information for hospital staff and families including raising awareness of the risks associated with current practices.

There is increasing recognition that action is required now to improve the experience and outcomes of people with dementia on admission to acute hospitals for an unrelated condition. The Alzheimer’s Society’s most recent report (2016) identified widespread poor dementia care, with wide variation in quality.

The focus of our programme is to develop clinically-relevant, detailed ethnographic research that identifies the needs of people with dementia, their carers, and ward staff within the acute setting.

Find out more about this project

Funding

Funded by the National Institute for Healthcare Research.

Research lead

Dr Katie Featherstone

Dr Katie Featherstone

Reader, Medical Sociology

Email:
featherstonek@cardiff.ac.uk