Susan O’Reilly1, Declan Patton2, Siobhan Kennelly1, Zena Moore2.
1Connolly Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. 2Royal College Of Surgeons In Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.
Background: The National Dementia Strategy indicates that people with dementia
represent up to 29% of acute hospital admissions. With the prevalence of dementia predicted
to rise significantly, it is reasonable to assume that the number of people with
dementia presenting at acute hospital services will also increase. Yet, the National Audit
of Dementia Care in Acute Hospitals identified that inpatients with dementia had notably
poorer care outcomes than inpatients without dementia. The effective use of personal
passports for inpatients with dementia leads to more positive care outcomes and the promotion
of person centred care. Despite this, their introduction into Irish acute hospital
settings is at best ad hoc. There is also a dearth of research evidence into their use, particularly
the experiences of staff and families of inpatients with dementia using personal
passports to support care.
Method: Using a qualitative descriptive approach, this study consisted of two parts:
Part 1: Six individual semi structured interviews with family members.
Part 2: Two focus group interviews with staff members.
Interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis was used to identify key
Results: Part 1: Two themes emerged from the family interviews: Guardianship and
Advocacy. Personal passports allowed families to give staff an insight into the person
with dementia and highlight what is important to the person. Part 2: Two themes
emerged from the staff focus groups: Care and Knowing the Person. Personal passports
were important for communication, management of responsive behaviours and recognising
the humanness of the person.
Conclusions: Using personal passports enhances the provision of quality person centred
dementia care. Families and staff differentiated this care from the delivery of clinical care
tasks. Challenges, such as the acute care environment and lack of dementia awareness
and education, inhibit using personal passports in acute hospital settings.