The Characteristics and Outcomes of People with Dementia in Inpatient Mental Health Care: A Review.


OBJECTIVES: Inpatient mental health beds for people with dementia are a limited resource. Practitioners need an understanding of this population to provide high-quality care and design services. This review examines the characteristics, care, and outcomes of people with dementia admitted to inpatient mental health services. METHODS: Systematic searches of key databases were undertaken up to November 2021. Findings were grouped into categories and then synthesized into a narrative review. RESULTS: The review identified 36 international papers, the majority of which were retrospective audits. The literature describes significant psychiatric and medical comorbidity and significant risk of change in residence and death associated with admission. CONCLUSIONS: We found a limited literature describing the characteristics, care, and outcomes of people with dementia in inpatient mental health services. The lack of research is striking given the complexity and vulnerability of this client group. More research is needed to describe the needs of this group, current and best practice to optimize care. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Professionals working in inpatient mental health services need to be aware of the evidence base available, consider how they evaluate patient outcomes, review their staffing and skills mix, and seek the views of patients and relatives in improving services.