The focus of this part of the HSE and Genio Dementia Programme is on the acute hospital sector. Three hospital-based consortia were awarded funding to develop an integrated care pathway for people with dementia so that access to and discharge from hospital is as seamless as possible, and that their experience is as good as it can be. 

The three hospitals included in this programme are:

  • St James’s Hospital Dublin, a large ‘Level 4’ teaching hospital in an urban area
  • Mercy University Hospital Cork, a 'Level 3' general hospital in an urban area 
  • Connolly Hospital Dublin, a 'Level 3' general hospital in an urban area

Some of the initiatives undertaken by the projects included:

  • 3 multi-stakeholder consortia were formed with approximately 90 members.

  • Awareness raising, training and education programmes were delivered to a wide range of staff including clinicians, administrators, security and catering.

  • Environmental changes have been implemented at each site ranging from general signage, protected bays in the emergency department and modifications within wards, day services, communal walkways and sitting areas. 

  • Mapping of existing pathways in the initial ICP development phase. Significant gaps and duplication in information gathering and assessments for individuals with dementia entering the acute hospital were identified. Each project undertook changes specific to the context of each hospital environment to help streamline and improve the hospital journey for people with dementia.
  • Linkages with the community, GPs and nursing home sector were developed to enable hospital avoidance in some cases and seamless discharge home for those patients who entered hospital. Patient transfers between hospital and the community and nursing homes are being supported through additional information provided on discharge letters to GPs, home care support packages and through personalised information such as ‘This is Me’ passports.

Findings

These projects are now coming to a close. Many improvements made by the projects are being embedded within the three hospitals. Preliminary results from a large scale evaluation undertaken by Trinity College Dublin indicate that the various improvements made across the hospitals have improved the experience of people with dementia in acute hospital settings (Findings forthcoming).

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