Hospital clinical staff routinely confront challenging behaviors in patients with dementia with limited training in prevention and management. The authors of the current article conducted a survey of staff on a chronic care hospital unit concerning knowledge about dementia, perceived educational needs, and the care environment. The overall mean score for a 27-item knowledge scale was 24.08 (SD = 2.61), refl ecting high level of disease knowledge. However, staff indicated a need for more information and skills, specifi cally for managing behaviors nonpharmacologically (92.3%), enhancing patient safety (89.7%), coping with care challenges (84.2%), and involving patients in activities (81.6%). Although most staff (i.e., nurses [80%] and therapists [86.4%]) believed their care contributed a great deal to patient well-being, approximately 75% reported frustration and being overwhelmed by dementia care. Most reported being hit, bitten, or physically hurt by patients (66.7%), as well as disrespected by families (53.8%). Findings suggest that staff have foundational knowledge but lack the "how-to" or handson skills necessary to implement nonpharmacological behavioral management approaches and communicate with families.
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