Title : An ethnographic study into registered nurses and healthcare support workers experiences of caring for older people with dementia on orthopaedic wards in a city hospital in the North of England
During the presentation, the lived experience of nurses and health care workers caring for people with dementia on orthopaedic wards will be discussed. Most nurses and health care workers on orthopaedic wards will care for people with dementia with various trauma conditions. This is because of the increase in the number of people living with dementia. It is estimated that, there are 47.5 million people worldwide living with dementia, (WHO 2015; Alzheimer’s Society 2014; Dementia UK 2014). This number is predicted to increase to 75.6 million by 2030 and triple by 2050. It is also acknowledged that older people are at a greater risk of falls that are a devastating problem causing a tremendous amount of morbidity,increased use of health care servicesand mortality. Falls usually result from identified risk factors such as weakness, unsteady gait, confusion and certain medication. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that a large population of older people suffering from dementia may be admitted to orthopaedic wards with various injuries. Nurse and support health workers may experience a range of difficulties when caring for this population of patients.
The results of the ethnographic research which was carried out by observing and interviewing six participants will be shared during the presentation. According to the results of this study, registered nurses and health care support workers reported how difficult it is to care for people with dementia in numerous ways. The difficulties were brought about by organisational factors, lack of staff, no mechanism to support them and lack of education in dementia care.
Participants reported how they strived to offer good quality care to their patients, but were frustrated when they were unable to meet patients needs. They also described how difficult and challenging it was relating to people with dementia due to the communication breakdown between staff and patients. The other issue raised was the effect of mixed ward environment. Registered nurses reported having to spend more time with the patient with dementia thereby leaving the other patient’s needs unmet. The findings also show that participants were faced with ethical issues while caring for people with dementia.