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“That’s how we do it…we treat them all the same”

An Exploration of the Experiences of Patients, Lay Carers and Health and Social Care Staff of the Care Received by Older People with Dementia in Acute Hospital Settings

Author(s): Fiona Cowdell

Book Description

The prevalence of dementia is increasing rapidly as the population ages and there is a steady rise in people with dementia being admitted to acute hospitals. Media coverage of the care received by people with dementia in acute hospitals is almost wholly negative. The purpose of this book is to provide a detailed description of what the experience, both positive and negative, is really like from the perspectives of patients, lay carers, and health and social care staff, and to propose a model for improving care.

The book comprises four elements. A literature review sets person-focused research in the context of dementia research as a whole. Research illuminates the experiences of acute hospital care for people with dementia through ethnographic description and narratives. To improve practice, a development model that engages staff on a cognitive and emotional level based on the philosophies of confluent education and situated learning is explained. Finally, the strands are drawn together to demonstrate that people with dementia, even those at an advanced stage and with superimposed physical illness, can be engaged in research that is both ethical and meaningful. Improvements in practice are possible and they need to be underpinned by a belief in the personhood of staff as well as that of patients. Areas for further research and practice development in this vital subject are identified.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-4262-4
ISBN-10: 1-4438-4262-1
Date of Publication: 01/02/2013
Pages / Size: 305 / A5
Price: £49.99


Fiona Cowdell is a Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Hull. Many years of her career as a registered nurse have involved delivering care and operational management for older people and in providing specialist education. She has written widely on dementia care in acute hospitals. Her current programme of research investigates the use of behavioural interventions to support people living with long-term conditions to self-manage as effectively as possible.