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Dementia logoCommitment to the care of people with dementia in general hospitals (SPACE principles)

In 2011, the RCN published a Commitment to the care of people with dementia in general hospitals. This commitment is made up of five principles, SPACE. Each principle is considered essential to ensure the appropriate delivery of care, and factors are identified which will support their delivery based on guidance and best practice. A self assessment scale and action planning tool based on the SPACE principles, has been developed to benchmark and measure progress. See: Transforming dementia care in hospital - Spider diagram self evaluation tool.

Resources have been developed to support implementation inclusing a 'how to guide' (PDF 552.8KB) and film. The film includes the perspectives of people with dementia, family carers and practitioners about hospital care. The ‘how to guide’ includes practical tools, best practice examples and guidance on delivering improvements.  

Each section of the 'how to guide' can be used independently to support learning, share ideas and encourage practitioners to transform the way care is delivered.  The guide signposts a range of resources available from the dementia pages of the RCN’s website.  A gallery of best practice examples is also available which illustrates how some hospitals have delivered change.  

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Find out how to access the resources and Read the full commitment and principles to put these principles into practice.  

These resources can be used along with other initiatives that support innovation and improvement. It is recommended that staff teams use them to develop practice in a systematic way which demonstrates real benefits for patients, carers and staff. This requires dedicated leadership, development of shared action plans and evaluating outcomes, particularly patient experience.

See: RCN development programme for further information.

We would like to thank the following organisations for their support: 

The commitment was developed as part of the RCN Dignity in dementia project supported by the Department of Health and the RCN Foundation.

Further contributions and support were received from the following organisations:

Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Psychiatrists, British Geriatric Society, College of Occupational Therapists, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Age UK, The Kings Fund, Dementia UK, NHS National End of Life Care Programme, College of Emergency Medicine, Alzheimer's Society and the National Council for Palliative Care and the Design Council.