New book: Wandering the wards


An Ethnography of Hospital Care and its Consequences for People Living with Dementia

By Katie Featherstone and Andy Northcott

This is an interesting and useful book, based on the wanderings of the authors and staff, NOT the patients with dementia in hospitals!

This book is especially timely in light of the release of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released on Monday htis week. Whilst it is focused on care of people with dementia in hosptals, not nursing homes or in the community, ot compltes the picture of poor care and neglest. My blog on Monday highlighted my sense of despair and how I feel the Royal Commission may have been a waste of time and money, but let’s remain HOPEFUL those who can make change, do so quickly.

Systematic inequalities
When we began exploring what was already known about hospital care we were immediately struck by the significant number of government reports, audits, and enquiries published over the last decade that together establish a consistent experience. This patient population receive poor care in hospital, to the extent that currently every person living with dementia (in England) will receive poor care at some point during their hospital admission (Care Quality Commission 2014). Importantly, this provided insights into these cultures of care and tells us that there is something deeply systematic about the inequalities people living with dementia experience, as we will explore within this book.

This growing body of work also suggests that these inequalities are an intractable issue.

The poor outcomes and experiences of this population are continually being reported, yet the systems that produce them seem incredibly resistant to change

We were still wandering these wards (within three further hospitals) at the time of writing (this began in October 2018 and continued until October 2019) and we also draw on these data in this book. We do not quote directly from the data col- lected from these wards in this book, but the phenomena we describe here were repeated and reinforced across the later wards. 

Download the book here

Ps. you can Download and read the Final Report of theRoyal Commission into Aged CareQuality and Safety here.

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