Icon for Key Principle 4

PRINCIPLE 4: Management of older people with confusion

NSW hospitals will have programs in place for older people with confusion that align with these principles. The implementation will be in partnership with the older person, their carer and family.

Dementia and delirium care with volunteers resources

There is strong evidence that multicomponent intervention strategies that are supported by volunteers or family carers can prevent delirium.

Volunteers can provide emotional security through one-to-one interaction and engage patients in therapeutic activities. Volunteers may also complete a personal profile with the patient (using the Sunflower tool) and/or family members or caregivers to gain information about the patient’s background and personal preferences.

Volunteers may also provide practical assistance, such as:

  • assisting with eating and drinking
  • ensuring patients are wearing their vision and hearing aids
  • encouraging patients to walk when it is safe to do so.

Volunteer training resources

The Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) has developed a Dementia and Delirium Care Volunteer implementation and training resource to support the management of older patients with confusion in NSW hospitals.

The resource was based on a volunteer program implemented and evaluated at Bega Hospital in 2009 in partnership with Alzheimer’s NSW. The evaluation demonstrated high acceptance by nursing staff and volunteers, who perceived improved safety and quality of care for patients. The program has been sustained and replicated in other hospitals.