How well are the diagnosis and symptoms of dementia recorded in older patients admitted to hospital?

Crowther, G.J.E. et al. Age & Ageing. Published online: September 10 2016

http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/result.html?_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXACTION_=query&_IXFIRST_=19&_IXSR_=JDHYY8ICb8R&_IXSS_=_IXFPFX_%3dtemplates%252ft%26_IXMAXHITS_%3d250%26c%3d%2522historical%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bOR%2b%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%26_IXFIRST_%3d1%26%252asform%3dwellcome%252dimages%26%2524%2b%2528%2528with%2bwi_sfgu%2bis%2bY%2529%2band%2bnot%2b%2528%2522contemporary%2bclinical%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2bor%2b%2522corporate%2bimages%2522%2bindex%2bwi_collection%2529%2529%2band%2bnot%2bwith%2bsys_deleted%3d%252e%26%2524%253dsi%3dtext%26_IXACTION_%3dquery%26%3d%26_IXrescount%3d90%26_IXINITSR_%3dy%26%2524%253dsort%3dsort%2bsortexpr%2bimage_sort%26_IXshc%3dy%26%2524%253ds%3ddementia%26_IXSUBMIT_%3dSubmit&_IXSPFX_=templates%2ft&_IXFPFX_=templates%2ft
Image source: Stephen Magrath – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Introduction: in the United Kingdom dementia is generally diagnosed by mental health services. General hospitals are managed by separate healthcare trusts and the handover of clinical information between organisations is potentially unreliable. Around 40% of older people admitted to hospital have dementia. This group have a high prevalence of psychological symptoms and delirium. If the dementia diagnosis or symptoms are not recognised, patients may suffer unnecessarily with resulting negative outcomes.

Discussion: this work suggests an under reporting of dementia and symptoms associated with it in the general hospital. Improving this requires closer collaboration between metal health and hospital healthcare services and training for staff on how to access diagnostic information and recognise common psychological symptoms.

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