Experiences of nurses with the care of patients with dementia in acute hospitals: A secondary analysis

Christiane Pinkert*, Eva Faul, Susi Saxer, Melanie Burgstaller, Doris Kamleitner, Hanna Mayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

46 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To describe nurses’ experiences in caring for people with dementia in acute hospital settings. Background: Recent research suggests that nurses’ experience in caring for people with dementia in acute hospitals is characterised by frustration, overall job dissatisfaction and feelings of powerlessness and guilt. Despite a growing body of knowledge concerning the care of people with dementia in acute care settings, it remains unclear how nurses in acute hospitals provide care for people with dementia and what general conditions characterise the nursing care provided to these patients. Design: A qualitative secondary analysis was conducted. Methods: Data were collected using audio-recorded focus group discussions with nurses in Germany and Austria. Overall, 12 focus group discussions, which were part of two larger research projects in Germany and Austria, were expanded into a qualitative secondary analysis (a content analysis). Results: The findings show that nurses face great uncertainty in caring for people with dementia in acute hospital settings and that each nurse reacts in different ways to address this uncertainty. The results also underline that, even for nurses who provide some form of person-centred care, the hospital environment imposes several contextual constraints. Conclusions: Hospitals must minimise constraints to give every nurse the chance to perform person-centred care. Furthermore, it is important to sensitise nurses and give them sufficient training and education to enable them to care for people with dementia. Relevance to clinical practice: The results may contribute to a better understanding of the factors that support or constrain person-centred nursing care for people with dementia in acute hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-172
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • acute care
  • dementia care
  • focus groups
  • nursing care
  • qualitative study
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Focus Groups
  • Austria
  • Dementia/nursing
  • Qualitative Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital/education
  • Germany

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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