The creation of a Dementia Nurse Specialist role in an acute general hospital

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2011 Sep;18(7):648-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01771.x. Epub 2011 Jun 14.


Older people form the largest group occupying acute hospital beds and many of them will have undiagnosed mental health problems. The creation of a Dementia Nurse Specialist role in a district general hospital provided the opportunity to assess the extent of the previously unmet need among patients, carers and nursing staff. Over 30 patients were seen each month, while around 6 to 12 were diagnosed as having dementia. Other activities undertaken as part of the role included providing information and support for carers, and advice on management of behaviours and support for ward staff. The role also involved policy writing, pathway and local strategy planning, care plan development, and formal and informal teaching on dementia. It is argued that this fixed-term post demonstrated that a Dementia Nurse Specialist could provide significant input in an acute hospital setting, by improving the experience of hospitalization for vulnerable older people and their carers.

MeSH terms

  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Hospital Units
  • Hospitals, General / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Admission
  • Psychiatric Nursing / organization & administration*
  • United Kingdom
  • Vulnerable Populations