Princess Alexandra Hospital offers a dedicated nursing team to target care for patients with dementia and delirium.
The Dementia and Delirium Nursing Service (DDNS) is a team of specialist nurses focussed on improving the care for cognitively impaired patients who experience behavioural and psychological symptoms (BPS).
Service lead, Clinical Nurse Consultant Fred Graham, said that a major challenge with caring for patients who have delirium and dementia is the presence of symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, agitation, and aggression with the highest rates of inpatient occupational violence associated with delirium followed by dementia.
Clinical Nurse, Bonnie Cowan, and Nurse Navigator, Kelli Flowers, join Fred in responding to assist staff with the care of cognitively impaired patients across all general wards including the Emergency Department and as well as in specialist areas such as the Acute Cognitive Unit and Ward 5A High Care Room.
“In 2020, we have been able to expand from having a solo clinician to a service with a dedicated Clinical Nurse and Nurse Navigator ensuring we can respond both quickly and effectively to assist staff in the care of cognitively impaired patients, not only while they are with us, but also during their transition back into the community,” he said.
Patients from Residential Aged Care Facilities are often admitted because their symptoms have become too severe to manage in that setting.
“Once we develop a Cognition Support Plan that is effective in managing the BPS, we can help facility staff with the adoption of the new approach to care”.
“Having our Nurse Navigator Kelli on board ensures that each patient has a collaborative co-ordinated approach to support their care needs and facilitate their transition from hospital back into aged care or the community,” said Fred.
While the delirium and dementia nursing service provides a hands-on response to incidents at PAH, the team have also launched the CogChamps intranet site for nurses and clinicians, just in time for World Delirium Day on March 11.
“The site acts as a resource tool for staff to access simple care resources, assessment tools and care planning tips for patients who have dementia or experience delirium.”