Title/link Description
RLO: Communication People with dementia experience difficulties in both understanding others and saying what they want to say. This usually progresses as the disease progresses. This RLO looks at problems people with dementia experience when communicating and strategies healthcare professionals can use to improve their communication.
RLO: Person-centered care This RLO looks at what person-centered dementia care is and using filming of healthcare professionals caring for people with dementia, shows how person-centered care can be applied on a hospital ward.
Website: Alzheimer's Society Alzheimer's Society is a membership organisation, which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


  • agnosia - the inability to recognise objects or people.

  • aphasia - A disorder of language. This includes understanding (comprehension) and expression (being able to say what you want to communicate).

  • apraxia - the inability to perform purposeful activity in the absence of motor or sensory loss.

  • executive function - is about planning, judgment and making decisions. This includes initiation and maintenance of activity, and responding to changing circumstances. Related functions include abstract thought, insight and social control.

  • dementia - is characterised by progressive loss of memory plus changes in at least one other area of cognitive function, including aphasia, agnosia, apraxia or executive function. This leads to impairments in judgement, thinking, planning, reasoning and processing of information.

  • person-centred dementia care - an approach which aims to see the person with dementia as an individual, rather than focusing on their illness or on abilities they may have lost.

  • health and welfare lasting power of attorney - this is a legal document that allows someone to choose another person to make decisions on their behalf when they lack mental capacity. In effect they have authority to decide as if they were the person themselves.

  • court appointed deputy - is someone appointed by the court to make certain decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity when the person has not made a lasting power of attorney.

  • advance decision - is a documented signed (by the person and a witness) which is made to refuse a specific type of treatment at some time in the future. It is legally binding so long as it complies with the Mental Capacity Act, is valid and applies to the situation concerned. It will take the place of best interest decisions by other people.

  • statement of preferences and values - is a less formal document that does not have binding legal force, but which helps you know in general terms what the person would have wanted.

  • mental capacity - the ability to understand, retain and use information to make a decision, and communicate it.


Brooker, D. (2007) Person-Centred Dementia Care: Making Services Better (Bradford Dementia Group Good Practice Guides). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Kitwood, T. (1997) Dementia Reconsidered: The Person Comes First. Buckingham: OUP.

Waite, J. Harwood, R.H., Morton, R. and Connelly, D.J. (2009) Dementia Care - A Practical Manual. Oxford:OUP.


Whittamore, K.H., Goldberg, S.E., Bradshaw, L.E. and Harwood, R.H. (2014) Factors Associated with Family Caregiver Dissatisfaction with Acute Hospital Care of Older Cognitively Impaired Relatives.  Journal of the American Geriatric Society [online]62: pp. 2252-2260..
Available at:

Glover, A., Bradshaw, L.E., Watson, N., Laithwaite, E., Goldberg, S.E., Whittamore, K.H. and Harwood, R.H. (2014) Diagnoses, problems and healthcare interventions amongst older people with an unscheduled hospital admission who have concurrent mental health problems: a prevalence study.  BMC Geriatrics [online] 14(43).
Available at:

Goldberg, S.E., Whittamore, K.H., Pollock K., Harwood, R.H. and Gladman J.R.F. (2014) Caring for cognitively impaired older patients in the general hospital: A qualitative analysis of similarities and differences between a specialist Medical and Mental Health Unit and standard care wards.  International Journal of Nursing Studies.  51: pp. 1332-1343.

Spencer, K., Foster, P., Whittamore, K.H., Goldberg, S.E. and Harwood, R.H. (2013) Delivering dementia care differently – evaluating the differences and similarities between a specialist medical and mental health unit and standard acute care wards: a qualitative study of family carers’ perceptions of quality of care.  BMJ Open [online] 3.
Available at:

Goldberg, S.E., Bradshaw, L.E., Kearney, F.C., Russell, C., Whittamore, K.H., Foster, E.R., Mamza, J., Gladman, J.R.F. Jones, R.G., Lewis, S.A., Porock D., Harwood, R.H. (2013) Care in specialist medical and mental health unit compared with standard care for older people with cognitive impairment admitted to general hospital: randomised controlled trial (NIHR TEAM trial) BMJ [online] 347.
Available at:

Bradshaw, L.E., Goldberg, S.E., Lewis, S.A., Whitttamore, K., Gladman, J.R.F, Jones, R.G. and Harwood, R.H. (2013) Six-month outcomes following an emergency hospital admission for older adults with co-morbid mental health problems indicate complexity of care needs.  Age and Ageing [online] 42: pp. 582-588.
Available at:

Whittamore, K.H., Goldberg, S.E., Gladman, J.R.F., Bradshaw, L.E., Jones, R.G. and Harwood, R.H. (2014) The diagnosis, prevalence and outcome of delirium in a cohort of older people with mental health problems on general hospital wards.  International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry [online] 29(32): pp. 32-40.
Available at:

Bradshaw, L.E., Goldberg, S.E., Schneider J.M. and Harwood R.H. (2012) Carers for older people with co-morbid cognitive impairment in general hospital: characteristics and psychological well-being.  International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.  28 (7): pp. 681-690.
Available at:

Goldberg SE, Whittamore K, Harwood R, Bradshaw L, Gladman J, Jones R. The prevalence of mental health problems amongst older adults admitted as an emergency to a general hospital. Age & Ageing. 2012;41(1):80-6.
Available at:

Caring for people with dementia - Personal Print Summary

Learning Objectives for this resource

  • be aware of the problems faced by people with dementia in hospital
  • learn ways to make the experience of hospital easier for patients
  • make hospital care less stressful for staff and family carers
  • know how to reduce distress and disturbed behaviour, and manage it better when it occurs
  • fulfil legal and professional obligations towards people with dementia.

This RLO was developed by:

Rowan Harwood, Sarah Goldberg, Justine Schneider, Geraldine Dowling, Stewart Paviers-Mills, Kate Tweedie, Kate Sartain, Sara Deakin, Rebecca Allwood, Laura Daunt, Louise Howe, Owen Davies.

HELM Team - Michael Taylor and Richard Windle.

Alzheimer's Society This resource was supported by Alzheimer’s Society Dissemination grant number AS-DG-13-0005.