Case 4: Dementia and the good course of treatment at the hospital – dementia-friendly hospital 

The diagnosis dementia is rarely the primary reason for hospitalization. When the patient suffering from dementia is hospitalized it is due to illnesses that also affect other elderly. It can be a broken hip, coronary heart disease, or diabetes.

The hospitalization can also be caused of the patient forgetting his medicine, or forgetting to eat and drink sufficiently. For the patient with dementia and the relative, being hospitalized can be traumatizing as it can be unexplainable and terrifying.

Studies show that the physical surroundings in the emergency departments around the country, generally does not fulfill the requirements to helping people suffering from dementia. Often a visit to the hospital will feel confusing to patients with dementia, which due to their illness already have troubles adjusting to new situations and contexts.

As a patient, being at a busy department with a lot of people that do not know you and unknown daily routines etc. can overstimulate and frustrate the patient. It is difficult to navigate the department, and there is very little peace and quiet. Furthermore, the patient is surrounded with people that he/she has never met and whom are unaware of the patient’s life story. The patient with dementia is sometimes incapable of telling how they are used to do things – The relatives will often play a major role in hospitalizing the patient, but they are unable to be in there all the time.

There is still limited knowledge on how to create a good dementia friendly hospital in Denmark. We know that light, especially daylight has a great significance for the wellbeing. Sound is another important factor, where acoustic regulations influence the circumstances of the patient’s hearing capabilities. Furthermore, sound creates (ex. Music) calming or identifiable peace or contact to previous memories. The life story and known routines can influence the communication with staff at the hospital during the hospitalization the patient.

Competences is an important focus area for the health professionals and the relatives.



Chief Physician Søren Jakobsen OUH/Svendborg – What is dementia – why, how and what is a dementia friendly department – thoughts and perspectives

Development nurse Mette Foldager OUH/Svendborg Patients with dementia in a geriatric department from a nurses perspective

Stud. Phd Anders Møller Jensen – Dementia in the society – the patient with dementia at the hospital.