RBWH research aims to improve care for people with dementia
Special therapeutic activity kits designed to reduce the stress and trauma faced by people with dementia when presenting to hospital for emergency care will be tested as part of a new trial commencing at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in September.
Approximately one-third of all patients who arrive in emergency departments over 70-years-old have a cogitative impairment, the majority of these being dementia related diagnosis.
RBWH and QUT Nurse Researcher Dr James Hughes said people with dementia and cognitive impairment are almost twice as likely to present to emergency departments compared with the general population.
“For these patients, a sudden change in environment, like visiting the busy emergency department, can cause disorientation and behaviours such as wandering, agitation and aggression. Coupled with their immediate health problem, these behaviours can amplify quickly,” Dr Hughes said.
The test kits include puzzles, playing cards and colouring and will be used to explore whether these everyday activities are helpful in preventing patients from becoming distressed.
“We plan on recruiting 112 patients on presentation to RBWH Emergency and Trauma Centre that we identify as at risk of developing behaviours that can complicate and delay treatment,” he said.
“Many of these simple interventions can be implemented in any setting quite swiftly, which could make a big difference to the care being provided to Australians affected by dementia.”
This research has been enabled thanks to a Rosemary Bryant Foundation – HESTA Joint Seeding Grant. Results of the study are expected to be available from August 2020.