During a hospital stay

Advice and practical tips for carers on ensuring somebody with dementia receives good care while they're in hospital.

Hospital care
Save this information

There are many things you can do to check your loved one is receiving good care in hospital. See our top tips below.

Top tips for carers during a hospital stay:

  1. Let staff know that the person you care for has dementia.
  2. Ask for the name of the main nurse who will be in charge of the person's care.
  3. Ask that you be included in all decisions.
  4. Give staff information about a person's individual preferences, likes and dislikes. Ask for these to be recorded. We have produced a leaflet 'This is me' to give to staff when a person with dementia goes into hospital
  5. If the hospital has a dementia specialist nurse, ask them to work with staff directly caring for the person with dementia about good care.
  6. If the person has trouble eating and drinking ask that they have someone to help them at mealtime or ask if you can help out (if you are able to)
  7. If appropriate, tell the staff what the person says or the signs they make when they want to go to the toilet, and ask that they be taken straightaway.
  8. If a person is prone to becoming restless or wandering let staff know and work together to identify ways of helping the person in their best interests.
  9. Ask staff to discuss with you what will happen when it is time for the person with dementia to leave hospital so that you are prepared and know what support is available.

Making a complaint

If you have any problems with the person's treatment or care, discuss these first with the named nurse. They should explain why things went wrong and how they will be put right.

Alternatively, you may prefer to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) based at the hospital, if you are in England and Wales. If you are in Northern Ireland, you can contact the Patient and Client Council (PCC), a national body which performs a similar role (see 'Other resources' at the end of this section for details). PALS and PCC both act on behalf of patients and families, and liaise with hospital staff to help resolve problems and concerns quickly.

Tips for making a complaint:

  • Stay calm and polite
  • Be specific about your concerns - for example, on three occasions you came in and saw that the drugs on the table had not been taken. It may help you to have the details written down with dates and times
  • Be clear about what you would like to see happen to resolve your complaint.

If it is not possible to sort the problem out on the spot, keep brief notes, as it is easy to forget details. The notes should include:

  • what occurred and when
  • who you contacted or discussed it with
  • what their response was.

If the problem still cannot be resolved, ask to see the ward manager or make an appointment with the consultant.