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The care of people with dementia within the hospital setting is challenging for healthcare professionals. Hospital design and services are not optimized for people with dementia, owing to the lack of preparation of healthcare professionals and the busy environment of the acute hospital. The peri-operative environment may present particular difficulties but little is known about the experience and care of people with dementia in this setting. The aim of this review was to examine the care of surgical patients who have dementia and their family members in peri-operative environments and describe strategies adopted by healthcare professionals. A systematic search of the following databases was completed: BNI, CINAHL, PubMED and PsychINFO in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Data were extracted and analysed within a thematic analysis framework as described by Braun and Clarke . Ten papers based on eight studies were included, five (n = 355,010 participants) containing quantitative data and five reporting qualitative data (n = 395 participants). People with dementia who go undergo surgery experienced higher adverse post-operative outcomes such as respiratory problems or urinary tract infections. The key elements in surgical care for people with dementia included: health assessment throughout the surgical trajectory (pre-, intra- and post-operative) and the resources used by healthcare professionals in the peri-operative care. Healthcare professionals reported difficulties in the completion of health assessments due to the cognitive status of people with dementia and a lack of skills in dementia management. The use of restraints was still a common practice and a source of conflict. Dementia-specific training and guidelines focused on the care of surgical patients who have dementia in peri-operative environments are required to improve care and post-operative outcomes. More research is required to develop effective interventions to improve care and decrease the risk of complications for people with dementia in the peri-operative care environment.

Original publication




Journal article


Dementia (London)

Publication Date



Alzheimer disease, dementia, nursing care, peri-operative care, post-operative care, pre-operative care, procedure, specialties, surgical