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Better care for patients with dementia in the recovery room

Study looked at improving recovery room care for patients with dementia after surgery

Patients with cognitive impairment can experience poorer outcomes after surgery if they do not receive care tailored to their needs when waking up in the recovery room. Hospital environments are poorly suited to people with dementia because they are noisy, busy and brightly lit, and patients meet many different members of staff.

Patients in the recovery room are emerging from sedation or general anaesthetic and may also have nerve blocks reducing the use of limbs. Waking up in a different room from where they went to sleep adds to the confusion, disorientation and anxiety, leading to difficult and sometimes aggressive behaviour. If patients do not receive effective care on waking from their anaesthetic they risk developing complications such as hypoxia from not tolerating the oxygen mask. To avoid these risks, patients are


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