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With 37 years of dementia management under her belt, QEII Hospital Dementia Nurse Navigator, Diane Evans is making a world of difference to the growing number of patients who need care and ongoing management for this ever-prevalent condition.
“There can be a lot of triggers for dementia patients that can exaggerate behavioural concerns and make it challenging for staff to manage outbursts and effectively treat these patients.
“The unfamiliar environment of the hospital, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, combined with pain are some of the key reasons hospitals can evoke fear and anxiety in dementia patients,” she said.
Diane’s knowledge is essential to the transition between hospitals and nursing homes.
“When a patient is being transferred from an aged care facility, I can meet them at the hospital entrance or Emergency Department, prepare the room and equip the team with a management plan for that patient’s individual needs.
“The patient is less likely to have behavioural issues during treatment if the team is prepared with strategies for communication and topics of interest as well as distractions in the form of tubing or fiddle blankets.”
Nurse Navigators play an integral role navigating the complexities of the healthcare setting, with specialised navigators managing a variety of specialties including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, Chronic Disease Management, Disability and Mental Health just to name a few.
Diane focuses on the education process for fellow clinicians throughout QEII and the associated community team to ensure they are equipped to care for the unique needs of these patients.
“My priority is to keep patients with dementia in the comfort of their home environment for as long as possible but, if the transition to hospital is required, I ensure the process is as smooth as it can be.”