It is yet unclear whether, despite abundant literature on the management of dementia in acute care settings, the training and practice of staff meets the demands of the ageing population. Currently, most of the practice is based on biomedical model (McCloskey, 2004). Due to rise in the elderly population and simultaneous increase in the number of patients suffering from dementia, research and practice of dementia patients in acute care settings is a necessity in order to meet the needs of the patients and their families affected by dementia. The purpose of this essay is to identify current practices in the nursing care of patients with dementia in acute care settings, discuss best practice guidelines pertaining to care of this population, analyse factors influencing the care of dementia patients in acute care settings and evaluate various options pertaining to alternative modes of management.
The economic, social and health status of the fast-growing elderly population poses a great challenge to all sectors. The WHO (2006) has projected that the elderly population of the world will cross the one billion mark by the year 2020 and by that time, over 700 million old people will be living in developing countries. It is unfortunate to say that little attention is paid to the enormous needs of the elderly population because the National Health Services are still preoccupied with tackling of the communicable diseases, maternal and child care and thus have no time, money and place for geriatric problems like dementia. According to the Advisory Panel on Alzheimers Disease (1996, p6), health professionals ignore patients with dementia because of "sense of impotence" pertaining to the treatment of their health problems and perception of increased cost of treatment. However, Cherry and Reid (200, p3) opined that nursing staff are aware of the fact that they are unable to deliver appropriate care to the elderly patient and thus meet their needs specifically. One