DEMENTIA rates in the Northern Rivers continue to climb, but healthcare professionals are rising to the challenge.
Lismore Base Hospital will be one of the first hospitals in NSW to launch the Confused Hospitalised Older Persons (CHOPs) program to improve care for elderly people with dementia and delirium.
As a partnership initiative of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation and National Health Medical Research Council Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre, CHOPs brings years of dementia expertise to the table.
It involves training in confusion identification and personalised care, creating a welcoming environment for those with confusion and co-ordinating closer communication with families and carers.
"CHOPs is basically a way that we can better care for people with confusion in hospitals," Anthea Temple, from the agency, explained.
"It's about making sure if someone is known to have dementia it's recognised as soon as they walk in the door," she said.
Ms Temple said hospital staff will work closely with carers and families to better serve patients.
Professor Sue Kurrle, the Cognitive Centre's director and chief investigator, said: "Patients who are confused are at increased risk of falls and functional decline, long hospital stays and increased re-admissions to hospital".
"Early identification of dementia and delirium allows us to treat the underlying cause and manage symptoms, so that we reduce adverse effects, minimise their duration and severity and improve the emotional support and wellbeing of patients, carers and families," she said.
- Short term memory loss
- Difficulty with normal tasks
- Language problems
- Disorientation of time and place
- Mood/behavioural changes
- Loss of initiative
- Poor judgement