Dementia partnership project

Case study


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RCN dementia partnership project

In 2011 the RCN was awarded funding by the Department of Health (DH) to facilitate a national project to improve the care of people with dementia in general hospital settings. In collaboration with other royal colleges, charities and professional organisations, and underpinned by a survey of practitioners, carers and people living with dementia, the RCN launched a set of principles resulting in a commitment to the care of people with dementia in general hospitals.

Extending the project into a second and third year when additional funding was awarded by the DH and new partners, Age UK and the RCN Foundation, the RCN widened the scope to include multiple work streams. We developed:

  • a film supporting good dementia care
  • a practical how to guide - Dementia: commitment to the care of people with dementia in hospital settings
  • a UK-wide series of educational workshops reaching over 400 practitioners
  • a dementia development programme through which the RCN is supporting nine NHS trusts to drive forward and measure improvements in patient and care-related outcomes for dementia.

More recently a new partnership was formed between the RCN and Carers Trust resulting in a triangle of care for dementia to ensure that carers are appropriately included in the care of people with dementia, particularly in hospital settings.

The guidance sets out standards that should be applied, offers best practice examples and includes a self-assessment framework for services to be used in benchmarking current provision and identifying areas of improvement. The guidance was officially launched at an event in Parliament.

We know that many people in hospital have dementia but that the diagnosis sometimes goes unrecognised. Raising awareness of the needs of people with dementia in a busy hospital environment is vitally important and the RCN are to be congratulated in completing this important initiative

Professor Alistair Burns National Clinical Director for Dementia at the Department of Health

Throughout the project the RCN has worked with a number of third party organisations around survey analysis and evaluation, including the University of Worcester, who evaluated the RCN’s year-long development programme. The independent evaluation showed that commitment and leadership from trust boards and investing in dedicated dementia nurse specialists were integral to achieving improvements in dementia care.

The programme was found to help clinical leads achieve some very positive outcomes for patients and improve engagement with family carers over a relatively short period of time. The programme culminated in a celebratory event where participants shared their local strategies ranging from trust-wide education programmes, improving individualised care and supporting family carers.

Supported by Nutricia and Dementia Services Development Centre, the conference attracted over 100 delegates, all with an interest in transforming dementia care in hospitals and making a difference for people with dementia and their families.

Page last updated - 03/08/2019