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Dementia guide asks nurses to 'step in carer's shoes'

Hospital nurses caring for dementia patients must ensure carers are fully involved and supported, according to guidance published jointly by the Royal College of Nursing and the Carers Trust.

The Triangle of Care guide identifies six key standards aimed at boosting collaboration between healthcare workers and carers.

This includes highlighting the importance of swiftly identifying carers and ensuring they get the right support, as well as recognising the valuable contribution they can make to the assessment and care of dementia sufferers.

Crucially nurses and others must learn to put themselves “in the carer’s shoes”, said the guide, which calls for “carer awareness” training for all staff.

Developed by people with dementia, carers and clinicians, the standards were devised for hospital care but are relevant to all settings, the two organisations said.

The new guide builds on similar guidance already being used successfully in mental healthcare settings.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said carers had an “integral role” in dementia care and had “a lot to offer healthcare staff”.

“No one is better placed to advise on a person’s needs and how their dementia affects them than a carer who has known them for years,” he added.

Readers' comments (4)

  • That should be part of a nurses role in all conditions

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  • isn't that what nurses do? Hopefully training and support is part of the general curriculum for all nurses with training for all those in services where they come into contact with the elderly and those suffering from or at risk of dementia.

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  • Dementia in the family also affects nurses, we have families too who get sick, grow old and die. We also need support.

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  • Anonymous | 2-Dec-2013 6:46 pm

    I will be visiting my Auntie tomorrow, it happens to be her birthday. I see her about once a fortnight and I am never sure when the day will come when she doesn't know it's me anymore. It is getting close to that. She seems more 'locked out', if you know what I mean than she used to be. Don't think I will be taking her out for a walk to get an ice-cream anymore. It is hard to see someone you love slowly drifting away. Not wanting to experience it myself, but I hope nature is kind enough to take people with dementia to another place, where they find some form of contentment. Having said that each person's experience is different, and I have seen some patients who have been totally tormented, so very, very sad and cruel. As for family and friends, whatever the course may take, it is truly painful.

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