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Family experiences of inpatient mental health care for people with dementia.

Wolverson, Emma; Harrison Dening, Karen; Dunning, Rebecca; Crowther, George; Russell, Gregor; Underwood, Benjamin


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Dr Emma Wolverson
Senior Lecturer Ageing and Dementia. Research Lead for Dementia UK.

Karen Harrison Dening

Rebecca Dunning

George Crowther

Gregor Russell

Benjamin Underwood


Introduction: This study investigates family carers experiences of inpatient mental health care for people with dementia. A mental health inpatient admission for a person with dementia is usually considered when a person is distressed and this distress leads to behaviours that are assessed to be risky for the person or others.
Method: Participants included seven family carers whose relative with dementia had been cared for within a mental health ward in the United Kingdom within the last 5 years. Interviews were used to explore the circumstances that led to the admission, expectations of mental health care, and perceptions of care during the admission and support received by family carers.
Results: Participants described their distress at the time of admission and how the process of admission sometimes added to their distress. Carers often felt excluded from their relatives care in hospital and many felt a loss of their rights. Participants felt that the mental health admission had a negative impact on their relative with dementia. Mental health law and legislation was difficult to navigate and carers were concerned about how much knowledge and understanding of dementia staff have.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that family carers may benefit from targeted support during their relatives admission. Mental health wards could do more to recognise the expertise in care and knowledge of the person with dementia of family carers and involve them in planning care. More research is needed to explore the experiences and outcomes of people with dementia during such admissions.


Wolverson, E., Harrison Dening, K., Dunning, R., Crowther, G., Russell, G., & Underwood, B. (2023). Family experiences of inpatient mental health care for people with dementia. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 14, Article 1093894.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2023
Publication Date Mar 1, 2023
Deposit Date Feb 14, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 2, 2023
Journal Frontiers in Psychiatry
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Article Number 1093894
Keywords Dementia; Mental health; Inpatient; Experience; Family carer
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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2023 Wolverson, Harrison Dening, Dunning, Crowther, Russell and Underwood. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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