Research into memory problems in hospital patients

Research into memory problems in hospital patients
Research into memory problems in hospital patients

Today, on World Alzheimer’s Day, the UMCG is conducting research to improve hospital care for people with cognitive impairments, such as memory problems. This study is being conducted under the supervision of the UMCG using the flash mob method: simultaneously researchers in thirteen other hospitals in the Netherlands are conducting the same study. The goal: to map how many elderly hospital patients have cognitive impairments. And perhaps more importantly, whether these disorders are recognized by doctors and nurses. This is reported by the UMCG.

Research by Alzheimer Nederland in 2019 showed that hospitals are insufficiently geared to people with dementia and cognitive disorders. With a cognitive disorder, someone has problems processing information, which can manifest itself in, for example, forgetfulness, getting lost or being unable to solve problems. These patients therefore require more help and attention during admission and after discharge. In addition, the involvement of informal carers could be improved. These and other measures can contribute to recovery, the prevention of complications and new hospital admissions.

Recognizing Cognitive Impairments

The results of the research by Alzheimer Nederland prompted lead researcher Barbara van Munster, professor of Internal Medicine and chair of the Alzheimer Center Groningen, to take the initiative for this flash mob study: ‘In order to be able to take measures to improve hospital care for people with cognitive To improve, you first need to know how big the problem is. How many elderly people in hospital actually have cognitive impairments? And do we recognize this well as healthcare providers? These questions have never before been investigated on such a large scale in the Netherlands. If we want to prevent these vulnerable patients from becoming confused during a hospital stay, or from returning to the hospital a few days after discharge because insufficient care was arranged at home, we must first recognize in which patients extra attention is paid to this. is needed. At the moment we don’t know how good we as healthcare providers are at recognizing cognitive impairments in the elderly in hospital.’

Memory test and questionnaire

Today, patients aged 65 and older who had been admitted to the hospital in question were approached in the thirteen participating hospitals. By means of a short test, the researchers get an impression of the patient’s cognitive functions, such as perception, attention, concentration and memory. In addition, they ask the doctors and nurses whether they think their patient(s) have cognitive problems.

Collaboration with students

In this flash mob study, the researchers work together with the future generation of healthcare providers to create awareness about this topic among them as well. Students of the Nursing and Applied Psychology program help with the memory tests. In addition to this learning experience in practice, a number of universities of applied sciences, in collaboration with the hospitals, provide extra education about the care of vulnerable elderly people with cognitive disorders.

The flash mob method

The flash mob method is a new way of doing research that can answer relatively simple but clinically relevant questions in a very short period of time.

By: National Care Guide

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Research memory problems hospital patients

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