Caring for Cognitive Impairment – A National Campaign
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has launched a national campaign to improve knowledge and care practices to provide better outcomes and reduce the risk of harm to people with cognitive impairment in hospital.
Patients in hospital with conditions such as dementia or delirium (conditions most commonly associated with cognitive impairment) are at much greater risk of adverse events and preventable complications, such as falls, pressure injuries, accelerated functional decline, longer lengths of stay, premature entry to residential care and even death. Despite being a common condition among hospital patients, cognitive impairment is often misdiagnosed or undetected in hospital.
Nationally, 20% of hospital patients aged over 70 have dementia and 10% of patients in this age group have delirium on admission to hospital, and patients with dementia are two times more likely to experience falls, pressure injuries or infections in hospital.
The Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign highlights the fact that harm can be minimised if cognitive impairment is identified early and steps are taken to reduce the associated risks. It encourages everyone working in hospitals, people in the community and consumers to get involved and make a difference.