New cognitive impairment identifier empowers staff

A young woman stands beside a man laying in a hospital bed. She holds a small card that features a blue logo. Another man stands on the other side of the hospital bed.
FSFHG Head of Geriatric Medicine Dr Bhaskar Mandal, patient Kim Tyrie and Senior Project Officer Jane Hopkins.
February 12, 2019

A new bedside tool will empower clinical and non-clinical staff working across Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group (FSFHG) to better respond to patients with memory and thinking difficulties.

The Cognitive Impairment Identifier (CII) is a visual cue which will is placed at the patient’s bedside once they have undergone screening for memory or thinking difficulties.

Senior Project Officer Jane Hopkins said the identifier allowed staff to modify their communication approach to ensure the patient and their carer were engaged as much as possible in care being provided.

“The identifiers will ensure patients are given the best chance to understand what is being said and help reduce any anxiety about being in an unfamiliar environment,” Ms Hopkins said.

The use of the CII is part of the new cognitive impairment policy developed in consultation with specialties across Fiona Stanley and Fremantle hospitals, and a Cognitive Impairment Reference Group.

The policy was developed to improve the screening, identification, care and discharge planning for older adults with dementia or who are at risk of developing delirium while in hospital.

FSFHG Head of Geriatric Medicine Dr Bhaskar Mandal said the CII was a significant step forward in Fiona Stanley and Fremantle becoming dementia friendly hospitals.

“In some cases, patients with delirium can be misdiagnosed or not identified as having a cognitive impairment,” Dr Mandal said.

“The identifier and the supporting policy ensures suitable procedures are in place to care for patients with dementia and delirium, aligned to the national standards.”

Dr Mandal said staff education on how to best care for and communicate with patients with a cognitive impairment was a crucial part of the project.

The FSFHG CII project was developed through a partnership with Ballarat Health Services.

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