Tips for Hospitalization

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Hospitalization of a patient with dementia is a potentially stressful experience often associated with negative outcomes for both the patient and family. The majority of dementia care is provided in the home by family caregivers who have intimate knowledge about the patient’s preferences, schedule, communication and comprehension abilities. The "Partner With Me" (PWM) project was developed to educate and connect healthcare providers with family caregivers of our patients with memory impairment. Hopefully, a better understanding of the patient's routine and adherence to these routines in the hospital will decrease the incidence of delirium and changes in behavior.

This project included the development of a DVD and education packet for family caregivers of cognitively impaired patients as well as a questionnaire and patient specific care plan to be completed while hospitalized. The DVD is titled "Partnering With Family Caregivers" and emphasizes the need to communicate patient specific needs and routines to hospital staff at admission. The information and resources included in both the education packet and DVD provide family members with valuable resources and tips to improve their loved ones care during and after hospitalization.

Better preparation and education for patients and families

We hope to make your hospital stay more enjoyable. If you have any questions or comments please ask any of our “Partner With Me” team members. Family Education Packets can be downloaded below or obtained from the Memory and Aging Center and UCSF Volunteer office.

Getting specific, nuanced personal information from families and providing it to providers

We realize that family caregivers of patients with memory problems have a lot of information about their loved ones. The "Partner With Me" program will help the hospital staff learn about your loved one's normal routines. We want to try our best to continue these routines as much as possible while your loved one is in the hospital. We want to understand your loved one’s personal choices and daily routines of communication, grooming, food and fluids, taking medicines, activity level and day/night schedules. We developed a series of questions that help us form a care plan around the regular routines of your loved one. We hope that by continuing the regular schedule as much as possible, we can minimize the stress and anxiety of being in the hospital. These documents can be downloaded below or obtained from the Memory and Aging Center.

Our trained volunteers will collect the specific information to develop a detailed care plan for your loved one. The hospital staff will use this care plan to help them provide optimal care during your loved one's stay. Our volunteers will also give you additional educational information when it is time to leave the hospital.

Developing a cadre of well-trained volunteers to interact with patients and families

We encourage more hospitals to train their own volunteers to interview family caregivers and complete questionnaires developed specifically for this program. These patient-specific care plans can then be posted in the patient’s rooms as well as in the patient's chart. This information helps to guide the staff as well as ancillary services on the most effective way to care for the patient. Volunteers can also provide support and activities to enrolled patients. Volunteer documents can be downloaded below or obtained from the Memory and Aging Center and UCSF Volunteer office.

Partner With Me Team

Please contact us with any questions or suggestions.

March 29, 2013