Experiences of staff and family members of inpatients with dementia where personal passports are used to support care in an acute setting

2019-11-22T18:37:46Z (GMT) by Susan Elizabeth O' Reilly


The National Dementia Strategy indicates that people with dementia represent up to 29% of acute hospital admissions. With the prevalence of dementia predicted to rise significantly, it is reasonable to assume that the number of people with dementia presenting at acute hospital services will also increase. Yet, the National Audit of Dementia Care in Acute Hospitals identified that inpatients with dementia had notably poorer care outcomes than inpatients without dementia. The effective use of personal passports for inpatients with dementia leads to more positive care outcomes and the promotion of person centred care. Despite this, their introduction into Irish acute hospital settings is at best ad hoc. There is also a dearth of research evidence into their use, particularly the experiences of staff and families of inpatients with dementia using personal passports to support care. This study is part of a wider study to improve the care outcomes of people with dementia in acute settings.


Using a qualitative descriptive approach, this study consisted of two parts:

Part 1: Six individual semi structured interviews with family members.

Part 2:Two focus group interviews with staff members.

Interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis was used to identify key themes.


Part 1: Two themes emerged from the family interviews: Guardianship and Advocacy. Personal passports allowed families to give staff an insight into the person with dementia and highlight what is important to the person.

Part 2: Two themes emerged from the staff focus groups: Care and Knowing the Person. Personal passports were important for communication, management of responsive behaviours and recognising the humanness of the person.


Using personal passports enhances the provision of quality person centred dementia care. Families and staff differentiated this care from the delivery of clinical care tasks. Challenges, such as the acute care environment and lack of dementia awareness and education, inhibit using personal passports in acute hospital settings.