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How do emergency department staff respond to behaviour that challenges displayed by people living with dementia? A mixed-methods study

Goodwin, Laura, Liddiard, Cathy, Manning, Sera, Benger, Jonathan Richard, Carlton, Edward, Cheston, Richard, Hoskins, Rebecca, Taylor, Hazel and Voss, Sarah 2023. How do emergency department staff respond to behaviour that challenges displayed by people living with dementia? A mixed-methods study. BMJ Open 13 (8) , e075022. 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-075022

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Objectives To investigate staff experiences of, and approaches to behaviour that challenges displayed by patients with dementia in the emergency department (ED). Behaviour that challenges is defined as ‘actions that detract from the well-being of individuals due to the physical or psychological distress they cause within the settings they are performed’, and can take many forms including aggressive physical actions, shouting and verbal aggression and non-aggressive behaviour including repetitive questioning, inappropriate exposure and resistance to care. Design Mixed-methods study consisting of an online survey and semistructured telephone interviews. Quantitative data were analysed and presented using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data were analysed thematically. Setting The EDs of three National Health Service (NHS) Hospital Trusts in Southwest England. Participants Multidisciplinary NHS staff working in the ED. Results Fifty-two online survey responses and 13 telephone interviews were analysed. Most (24/36, 67%) survey respondents reported that they had received general training in relation to dementia in the last 2–5 years, however, less than a fifth (4/23, 17%) had received any ED-specific dementia training. All (48/48) felt that behaviour that challenges could potentially be prevented, though resource constraints and practice variation were identified. Four main themes emerged from the qualitative data: (1) the ‘perfect storm’ of the ED; (2) behaviour that challenges is preventable with the right resources; (3) improvisation and (4) requirement for approaches that are specific to the ED. Conclusions The findings of this study suggest that ED staff do not feel that they are prepared to respond effectively to behaviour that challenges displayed by people living with dementia. Future work could adapt or develop an intervention to support ED staff in responding to behaviour that challenges.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 2044-6055
Funders: RCF Grant, Above and Beyond UHB, Bristol.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 August 2023
Date of Acceptance: 26 July 2023
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2023 01:21

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