Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign

The Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign is about providing better outcomes and experiences for patients with cognitive impairment in hospitals, and for their loved ones and staff who care for them. By improving our knowledge and care practices, we can reduce the risk of harm in hospitals. In recognition of cognitive impairment, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has included specific items in the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards (second edition) and Clinical Care Standards.

Who can join the campaign?

The campaign is a call for action to unite everyone who cares for people with cognitive impairment. The Commission has sought the commitment of hospital Chief Executives and is listing hospitals who sign up to the campaign on the website. 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. 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 cognitive impairment items included in the NSQHS Standards (second edition) released in 2017. Assessment to NSQHS Standards (second edition) will commence in January 2019. 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 in January 2016. It will run until June 2019 to help hospitals prepare for the new cognitive impairment items in the NSQHS Standards (second edition).

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. They are available as a PDF. Actions for health service managers will be updated to align to the NSQHS Standards (second edition).

The Actions for clinicians resource app is also available for mobile devices.

Additional work of the Commission includes:

  1. The Delirium Clinical Care Standard
    This outlines the key components of clinical care for patients with suspected delirium and patients at risk of developing delirium in hospital. It is 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. The NSQHS Standards (second edition) include specific items addressing cognitive impairment. These 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 assessed to the NSQHS Standards (second edition) from January 2019. A Cognitive Impairment Advisory Group has been established to provide advice, expertise and support to the Commission’s Cognitive Impairment Program. The group also provides leadership and advice on the implementation of the Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign. The Advisory Group will run until mid-2019.