Purpose: This paper reports on results of a study to identify education needs of nurses in acute care environments
regarding dementia care in Ireland.
Method: As part of a multicentre study of dementia prevalence and in-hospital course, a survey was conducted with
nurses (n=151) in six acute hospitals in the south of Ireland. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.
Findings: Despite the availability of a national dementia education programme across all care services, 83% of acute
hospital nursing staff perceived that they had insufficient training in dementia care, reflecting the known poor uptake of
offered dementia education in acute hospitals. Over two thirds of nurses felt that education on dementia specific
communication strategies was insufficient or unavailable. Nurses also reported insufficient knowledge with regard to pain
assessment in patients with dementia, or alternatives to physical or chemical restraint. This lack of knowledge has
implications for quality of care and may have consequences for safety of patients with dementia in acute hospitals in
Conclusion: With the expected growth in prevalence of dementia worldwide, more people with dementia will access
acute hospital care. Education and training to improve dementia care needs to be prioritised in acute hospitals at senior