Development of a decision-support framework to support professionals and promote comfort among older hospital inpatients living with dementia

Nathan Davies*, Emily West, Ellen M. Smith, Victoria Vickerstaff, Jill Manthorpe, Malvi Shah, Greta Rait, Jane Wilcock, Jane Ward, Elizabeth L. Sampson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Acute hospital wards can be difficult places for many people living with dementia. Promoting comfort and wellbeing can be challenging in this environment. There is little evidence-based support for professionals working on acute care wards on how to respond to distress and maximise comfort and wellbeing among patients living with dementia. Objectives: Our overall aim was to codesign an evidence-based easy-to-use heuristic decision-support framework, which was acceptable and practical but acknowledges the complex and acute nature of caring for patients with dementia in the hospital. This paper presents the development process and resulting framework. Methods: A codesign study was informed by data from (1) a literature review of the care and management of people living with dementia in acute hospitals; (2) a cohort study of comfort and discomfort in people with dementia in acute hospitals; and (3) interviews with family carers and health care professionals. We synthesised evidence from these data sources and presented to key stakeholders through codesign meetings and workshops to produce our decision-support framework. Results: The framework consists of a series of flowcharts and operates using a three-stage process of: (1) assess comfort/discomfort; (2) consider causes of discomfort; and (3) address patient needs to manage the discomfort. Conclusion: Working with key stakeholders, synthesising diverse quantitative and qualitative evidence to build a clinical framework is a feasible approach to help address the needs of patients living with dementia in an acute hospital setting. The result is a framework which is now ready for evaluation and implementation. Patient and Public Contribution: We worked closely with people living with dementia and family carers throughout this study, including the development of the study protocol with input on study development and design, through to inclusion in stakeholder workshops and codesign of the decision support framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13922
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number1
Early online date27 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • decision making
  • dementia
  • hospitals
  • patient comfort


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a decision-support framework to support professionals and promote comfort among older hospital inpatients living with dementia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this