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, which form a shared commitment to improving care. 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. They are intended for all those people responsible for care, not just nursing staff, to help support improvements and make positive changes. 

The RCN has developed new resources consisting of a 'how to guide' (PDF 552.8KB) and film to support the further implementation of its five principles for improving the quality of care. 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 accompanying guide can be used independently to support learning, share ideas and encourage practitioners to transform the way care is delivered to people with dementia in hospital. In addition  the guide provides a signpost to a range of resources available from the dementia pages of the RCN’s website and links to a gallery of best practice examples where you will find further information from those who contributed to the film, as well as other examples of how some hospitals have delivered change.

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Read the full commitment and principles and access the resources to join us in putting the commitment into practice. Make SPACE for good dementia care - an easy way of remembering the commitment. 

These resources can be used along with other initiatives that support innovation and improvement. It is recommended that staff teams use them to support the development of 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.

The commitment has been informed by:


This is nursing - dementia pen challenge

As part of a Dementia leadership programme, participants took part in a workshop led by the RCN dementia lead, Rachel Thompson on the RCN's commitment to improving care for people with dementia. Participants were posed a task - they were given an RCN dementia pen and challenged to get it as high as they could in their organisations; taking a photo of a senior manager or chief executive holding or writing with the pen. Clinical Development Lead for District Nursing, Josephine Gray, tells her story about how she reached the Prime Minister David Cameron, following one of these RCN led sessions. Read Josephine Gray's story.

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

The commitment has been developed as part of a dementia project supported by the Department of Health and the RCN Foundation, and from further contributions and support 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.