Courtney Shaw, Study Lead

Courtney Shaw, Study Lead

People with dementia frequently experience multiple health conditions that require treatment in the hospital. Patients with dementia are known to be particularly vulnerable and experience preventable harm more frequently than patients without dementia. This risk is particularly notable in the emergency department. While some extraordinary work has been done in making hospitals “dementia friendly” in recent years, the emergency department remains a challenging environment for patients with dementia and the people who support them. Courtney Shaw is leading on a new study to look at how this can be improved. We caught up with her to find out more.

What are the main aims of the study?

This project aims to find ways to improve the quality and safety of care provided in accident and emergency (A&E) for people living with dementia.

People living with dementia are often frequent users of acute health services, such as A&E. While dementia may not be the primary reason for admission to hospital, the presence of the condition can impact the specific care needs of that patient and these are unlikely to be met by standard provision of care.

Previous research has shown us that people with dementia are more likely to experience avoidable harm in hospital than patients without dementia, and this frequently starts in A&E.

This project aims to develop an intervention (or interventions) to reduce that risk. We want to improve our understanding of patients’ experience of accessing care in A&E and find ways to improve it in future.

What does it involve for a participant?

Participation in this research project involves filling in a short survey. You complete it online, or request that a paper copy be sent to your home. The survey will ask you about your experience of attending A&E and being admitted to hospital.

How much time will it take?

The survey should not take more than 30 minutes to complete. If you do it online, you will have the option to close and re-open the survey if you need a break.

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

My hope is that the intervention I design as part of my research can improve the quality and safety of care provided to people with dementia in A&E departments. A hospital admission can be a scary and stressful time and I am optimistic that this research can make this experience easier for people living with dementia and the people who support them. I believe a good experience in A&E can set someone up for a safe and comfortable stay in hospital, and I hope my research can make that possible.

Who can take part in this study?

This study is now recruiting throughout England. If you are person living with dementia, or someone who supports a person living with dementia, who has visited the A&E department at any of the following hospitals in the last 2 years, you can participate.