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Meeting the Emotional Needs of Hospital Patients With Dementia: A Freelisting Study With Ward Staff

Petty, Stephanie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1453-3313, Dening, Tom, Griffiths, Amanda and Coleston, Donna Maria (2020) Meeting the Emotional Needs of Hospital Patients With Dementia: A Freelisting Study With Ward Staff. The Gerontologist, 60 (1). pp. 155-164.

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[img] Text (Petty, S., Dening, T., Griffiths, A., & Coleston, D. M. (2020). Meeting the emotional needs of hospital patients with dementia: a freelisting study with ward staff. The Gerontologist, 60(1), 155-164.)
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Abstract

Background and objectives: People with dementia are vulnerable when in hospital, with serious risks to their physical and emotional well-being. Hospital staff are expected to understand and respond to the emotions of the patient; however, it is not known how this can be achieved. We provide a concise description of achievable emotion-focused care for patients with dementia.

Design and methods: Exploratory qualitative interviews were conducted with a whole U.K. hospital ward providing dementia care, constituting 47 staff members. Staff responded to four questions using ethnographic freelisting. They listed (a) all the ways they notice the emotional distress of patients with dementia, (b) the causes of emotional distress, (c) all the ways they respond, and (d) the responses that seem to work. Cultural consensus analysis was applied.

Results: A single-factor solution for each question indicated a consensus approach to emotional distress. Emotional distress was noticed from agitation (Smith's saliency score, 0.418), crying (0.350), and increased mobilizing (0.238). The main causes of distress were the unfamiliar hospital environment (0.355) and not knowing what is happening (0.313). The most effective ways to respond to emotional distress required knowing the person (0.299), talking (0.283), and being with the person (0.269).

Discussion and implications: The findings expand what is understood of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia; these communicated emotional distress with well-understood causes. Prioritized ways of responding to emotional distress described person-centered care. The results offer a menu of options for providing emotionally responsive care for patients with dementia in hospital. Future research should evaluate the care described.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny151
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5529

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