Acute hospital care for older persons with memory disorders and dementia (PwD) requires urgent redesign to adequately meet patient needs, improve health status, quality of life and quality of care, and reduce costs. In recent years the number of PwD admitted to European acute hospitals has significantly increased. PwD stay longer in hospitals than persons without dementia, have a higher risk of adverse events and worse outcomes. Some frameworks and models have recently emerged in Europe and North America to restructure hospital care for seniors and PwD. However, they have not yet been compared and synthesized. A framework comprising standards and criteria to guarantee high quality person centred acute hospital care for PwD is highly warranted, but not available yet. Such a framework is the main outcome of this project (ESAH-DEM).

Redesigning hospital care is complex as it focuses on different levels and aspects, such as care processes, organisational structures, emotional, behavioural and physical environment, and ethical issues. ESAH-DEM uses a stepwise multidisciplinary approach. A draft ESAH-DEM framework will be derived based on extensive literature analysis and expert review. The draft will be translated into a detailed study protocol as basis of a comparative clinical and cost effectiveness study on acute hospital care for PwD in seven European countries (DE, NL, FI, ES, UK, GR, SK). The empirically based final ESAH-DEM framework will comprise a set of standards and criteria on patient-oriented, organisational, structural, process-related and cost aspects for high quality acute hospital care for PwD. A Web-based open access education programme and a management toolbox will enhance implementation. ESAH-DEM will support policy makers, health care administrators and educators in Europe to better organise, manage and reshape acute hospital care for PwD in order to improve clinical outcomes, well-being for PwD and their significant others, and to reduce inappropriate resource use.

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