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Why are we running the study?

A quarter of people in acute hospital beds have dementia (Royal College Psychiatrists 2013) and people with dementia in hospital tend to do less well than people without dementia (RCP 2005). Carers feedback that patients with dementia are not fully included in their care in hospital, and are not shown dignity and respect by staff (Alzheimer’s Society 2009). This may be partly because people with dementia may have difficulties communicating, which often get worse in the hospital, with its unfamiliar people, places and routines.

Healthcare staff can find communicating with someone with dementia challenging, causing them stress and reduced job satisfaction.

Communication between healthcare staff and people with dementia is currently poorly understood. Best practice guidelines for communication are often based on opinion rather than well researched evidence.

This project aims to find out what communication skills work best between healthcare professionals and people with dementia who have been admitted to hospital, and then to develop and test an evidence based communication skills training programme.