Insights into the hospital dementia experience


The “Insights into the Hospital Dementia Experience” experiential workshop aims to provide staff with an understanding of the frustration, confusion, exhaustion and disorientation that people with dementia experience in hospital. Language and care practices of staff and /or a “disabling” environment can compound feelings of confusion, helplessness, frustration, humiliation and anger, thus leading to increased disability, alienation and the development of behavioural responses.

Strategies that made a difference to your experience 

Last year Vicki Wale CE & I from the Northern NSW (NNSW) Local Health District (LHD) Multipurpose Service (MPS) Network were trained by (formerly titled) Alzheimer’s Australia NSW to facilitate and to pilot a state-wide training project with 20 staff at Kyogle MPS, called Insights into the hospital dementia experience. Kyogle was one of 9 sites across the state to participate in the project.

Tips for others 

The pilot was so successful that executive managers at NNSW LHD MPS Network encouraged us to apply for Nursing & Midwifery Office Strategy Reserve Funding to roll the training out to all staff in the MPS. We were successful in our application and have this year provided 8 workshops with 129 staff of all disciplines undertaking the training. In May 2017 I co-presented the project outcomes with Alzheimer’s Australia at the Patient Experience Symposium in Sydney.


An independent evaluation showed workshop participants had increased

  • levels of empathy for people with dementia
  • understanding of the impact of dementia on individual people
  • understanding of the factors/triggers that influence behaviour (unmet need), and
  • knowledge of strategies and skills for addressing behavioural responses (unmet need).