Nurses’ experiences of delivering acute orthopaedic care to patients with dementia

Anders Møller Jensen, Birthe D. Pedersen, Rhonda L. Wilson, Rolf Bang Olsen, Lise Hounsgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Nurses who care for acute patients with dementia in a hospital setting report a variety of challenges in regard to meeting the complex needs of their patients. In particular, known barriers to optimal care include a lack of knowledge about dementia, lack of dementia-friendly acute clinical environments, lack of time to care for the individual patient and a prioritised focus on the medical issues that triggered the hospitalisation. Research to date has not specifically focused on nurses’ experiences of caring for people with dementia in orthopaedic wards. Aim: This study investigates nurses’ experiences of caring for people with dementia, in an acute orthopaedic hospital ward setting. Design: Qualitative interviews. Methods: This qualitative study employs hermeneutic phenomenological research methods. Eight Danish nurses were interviewed in an orthopaedic ward about their experiences in caring for orthopaedic patients with dementia. Nurses with various levels of expertise were selected for interview so that a full range of nursing experiences could inform the research study. Results: The results of the study revealed two major themes: “Nurse communication and patient information” and “Care compromise”, with three and four sub-themes, respectively. These findings are used to illustrate how, and why, nurses’ experiences of caring for patients with dementia contribute a discontentment and negative preconceived perception by some nurses towards their acute care of patients with chronic dementia. The results are discussed in the context of Interactional Nursing Practice theory and describe the challenges experienced by acute care orthopaedic nurses who care for patients with dementia. Conclusion: Orthopaedic nurses find it challenging and professionally difficult to provide person-centred care for patients with dementia during an acute orthopaedic hospital admission. Implications for practice: Orthopaedic nurses should work to adopt a positive attitude, and person-centred approach, towards dementia care. It is also recommended that the electronic patient record should be supplemented by oral dissemination to some extent, as information, plans of action and knowledge about the care situation for patients with dementia has a tendency to drown in chronological data presentation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12271
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Older People Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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