New resource helps hospitals focus on the person

Hospitals can be stressful and busy places, where someone with dementia may find communication especially challenging.

Often a family carer is needed to help explain (and re-explain) issues to hospital staff, and assist them to understand the usual daily routines, needs, and preferences of the person with dementia.

In consultation with consumers and an expert advisory group, a Dementia Collaborative Research Centre – Carers and Consumers (DCRC-CC) team, led by Professor Christine Toye of Curtin University, has developed Focus On The Person – an evidence-based tool to help family carers give staff useful personal information summaries during a hospital visit.

Focus On The Person is designed to help families and health professionals be allies in providing person-centred care. It comprises short template forms, written in plain English, to be completed by a family carer. They can be printed out (eg on a home printer) or completed and saved in an online electronic version – making it easy to keep the information updated.

The tool covers 16 topics. Some are everyday domains like ‘eating and drinking’ (eg dislikes, cultural preferences) and ‘communication’ (eg ‘preferred conversation topics’). Other domains address health issues such as ‘usual tablets and medicines’, personal care (eg going to the toilet) and falls risk.

As an up-to-date record, this information can be quickly and easily provided by family carers to hospital staff to help them provide personalised care to a person with dementia.

Focus On The Person is part of a bundle of resources developed for home carers by DCRC-CC. It is available for free from the new DementiaKT Hub website at http://dementiakt.com.au/resource/fotp/.

Download this article for printing: http://journalofdementiacare.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Focus-on-the-person-form-UPDATED.pdf

Acknowledgments

Focus On The Person was developed by: Professor Christine Toye and Dr Susan Slatyer, both from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Curtin University and Centre for Nursing Research at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital; Mary Bronson, Andrew Hill and Dr Sean Maher, Medical Division, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital; Professor Keith Hill, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University; Dr Pam Nichols and Professor Samar Aoun, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Curtin University; Dr Eleanor Quested, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University; and Dr Elissa Burton, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University.

Reference group members were recruited from Alzheimer’s Australia WA, Carers WA, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and the Department of Health of Western Australia.

Support for study recruitment was also received from Juniper Community, Alzheimer’s Australia WA, Carers WA, and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Funding was provided by the DCRC-CC.

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