About the campaign

The Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign is about improving our knowledge and care practices, providing better outcomes for patients, hospitals, staff and loved ones, and reducing the risk of harm in hospitals.

Why does cognitive impairment matter?

Cognitive impairment (such as delirium or dementia), is a common condition experienced by people in hospitals that is often not detected, or is dismissed or misdiagnosed.

People with cognitive impairment in hospital are at significantly increased risk of adverse events and preventable complications.

Harm can be minimised if cognitive impairment is identified early and risks are acted upon.

Delirium can be prevented with the right care. The Commission, in recognition of cognitive impairment as an important safety and quality issue, has included specific items in the draft version 2 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

Who can join the Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign?

The campaign is a call for action to unite everyone who cares for people with cognitive impairment. Doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, health service managers, care and support staff, workers in primary health or community care, patients and families can all make a difference. The Commission has sought the commitment of hospital Chief Executives and is listing hospitals who sign up to the campaign on the web site. The website also enables individuals to commit to the campaign. Individual commitment (PDF) certificates list simple, straight-forward steps tailored to the person’s role.

The most important first step for everyone is to learn about delirium, dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment. Key organisations have also joined as supporters to promote the importance of the campaign and are listed on the supporters page. Those who join become part of a community striving to make a difference. There is the opportunity to share success stories and helpful tips to address the challenges faced in implementing change.

Everyone will have access to resources, webinars and regular newsletters. By joining the campaign, hospitals can also get a head start on meeting the actions of the draft version 2 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards due to be released in 2017. Many hospitals already have initiatives in place to improve the recognition and care of people of cognitive impairment. This campaign does not replace or duplicate local action. Rather, it builds on existing programs and projects to provide a platform for collaboration and sharing of good practice – read stories.

How long does the campaign go for?

The campaign was launched on 28 January 2016. It will run until the end of 2018 when it is expected that Version 2 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards will be implemented. The campaign will assist hospitals to be prepared for the inclusion of cognitive impairment in the NSQHS Standards.

How does the campaign link to the Commission’s Cognitive Impairment Program?

The campaign actions and strategies have been developed from the A better way to care resources which collate current evidence and best practice for delirium and dementia recognition and care.

The resources include Actions for Health Service Managers, Actions for Clinicians and Actions for Consumers and are available as an e-resource and a printable PDF.

The Actions for Clinicians resource app is also available for mobile devices. The Commission is also working on:

  1. A Clinical Care Standard to outline the key components of clinical care for patients with suspected delirium and patients at risk of developing delirium in hospital. This will guide clinical practice and facilitate the provision of appropriate clinical care. The Delirium Clinical Care Standard is due to be released in mid 2016 and will be accompanied by a set of indicators to support clinical teams and health services to identify and address areas that require improvement at a local level.
  2. Incorporating cognitive impairment into Version 2 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards. The NSQHS Standards are designed to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of health service provision. All hospitals and day procedure services and the majority of public dental services across Australia need to be accredited to the NSQHS Standards. Version 2 of the NSQHS Standards will be introduced in 2017.
  3. A Cognitive Impairment Advisory Group has been established to provide advice, expertise and support to the Commission’s Cognitive Impairment Program, specifically to provide leadership and advice on the implementation of the Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign. The Advisory Group will run until mid-2017 when Version 2 of the NSQHS Standards are expected to be released. 


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