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    Every health service organisation can make a difference

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  • All health service organisations can make a difference

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New Intellectual Disability Resources

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has published three new resources: an Intellectual Disability Actions for Clinicians Fact Sheet, With Me – Intellectual Disability Actions for Clinicians and About Me – Questions to ask about Reasonable Adjustments Fact Sheet.

Read more about Intellectual disability and inclusive health care on the Commission’s website.

COVID-19 and Cognitive Impairment

During COVID-19 people with cognitive impairment may find hospital even more frightening than usual. At this time, clinicians and visitors are using personal protective equipment (PPE) and there may be restrictions on family and carers who are usually there to support them.

In recognition of this changed environment, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has developed new resources to support health service organisations to provide safe care for people with cognitive impairment during COVID-19.

Key actions from the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards that are being implemented by health service organisations to support safe, high quality care for people with cognitive impairment remain crucial at this time. These key actions include:

  • Goals of care discussions with the patient, support person or, if required, the substitute decision-maker
  • The involvement of carers
  • Delirium prevention strategies, and 
  • The use of antipsychotics only as a last resort

The Commission acknowledges the contribution of people with dementia, carers, clinicians and researchers in the development of these resources.

The new resources are:

Safe care for people with cognitive impairment during COVID-19: Poster

Safe hospital care for people with cognitive impairment during COVID-19: Fact Sheet for clinicians


Cognitive Impairment is a safety and quality issue


This site is designed to support health service organisations that are assessed to the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards to improve the recognition of and response to people with cognitive impairment.

Our aim is to provide better outcomes and experiences for people with cognitive impairment, their loved ones, and staff who care for them in health service organisations. By improving our knowledge and care practices, we can reduce the risk of harm.

New cognitive impairment resources aligned to the second edition of the NSQHS Standards are now available on the Commission’s website.

Why is cognitive impairment

  • Be alert
  • Recognise and respond
  • Better care

People with cognitive impairment are at increased risk of preventable complications. Cognitive impairment is common, but is often not identified, or it is dismissed or misdiagnosed. We may dismiss symptoms of delirium as a normal part of ageing, or as dementia, potentially preventing us from taking action. We may not understand what a person is experiencing, which increases their distress.

The first step to making a person’s stay safer is to understand the different forms of cognitive impairment, the people who are at risk, and what we need to be alert to.

Elderly male in a hospital bed with female beside the bed.

People with cognitive impairment are at increased risk of adverse events and preventable complications. We can minimise harm if we recognise cognitive impairment and act.

We can prevent delirium with the right response to those at risk, and we can ask families to help.

A male and female discussing medication with clinician

There are simple steps we can all take to keep people safe from the potential impact of cognitive impairment.

We can all make a difference.

This website has extensive resources to help.

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Be a champion

  • Commit
  • Act
  • Learn

Everyone who cares for people with cognitive impairment can commit to cognitive care – people living with cognitive impairment, carers, family members and other support people, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, health service managers, and care and support staff.

Champions are in hospitals, in primary health, in the community and in residential care.

senior woman in hospital, getting longtime electrocardiogramm and blood preasure measurement, standing beside bed

As an individual, we can take action. Health service organisations can put systems in place for better care. Be prepared for the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards (second edition).

Woman in hospital bed

Everyone has a role. Learn about cognitive impairment. Learn from others. Be part of the community making a difference.

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Learn more

"The person is still there" - This is
Joan's message

Read More

Ward adaptions
at Fremantle

Read More

Have you seen the
infographic on
reducing inappropriate
use of antipsychotics?

Read More


Watch Now

This webinar will be of interest to those who would like to understand how to set up and implement a person centred volunteer program within their hospital. The slides are available here.

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This webinar covers key elements including medication reconciliation and review, appropriate prescribing and consumer involvement along with illustrating the importance of a team approach. Slides available here. Supplementary video here.

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Professor Sharon Inouye is interviewed by Associate Professor Gideon Caplan. They discuss the vital importance of addressing delirium in our health care system.

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Ellie Newman - Cognitive Impairment Coordinator - Royal Perth Bentley Group Ellie Newman shares the importance of cognitive impairment champions being present and engaged with staff, and having an organised filing system to keep up with the momentum. To watch the full interview, click here.

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This webinar discusses the inclusion of cognitive impairment in NSQHS Standards and offered an opportunity for participants to consider their role as lead cognitive champions. Slides available here.

Play now