Dementia and pad culture: dignified continence care in hospitals

Our podcast explores the routine, undignified use of continence pads for people with dementia admitted to hospital and what can be done to change this culture

Picture of an older woman in a hospital bed, looking pensive
Image: iStock

Managing the continence care of patients with dementia in hospital can be a challenge for time-pressed staff.

The latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast explores this nursing practice, which is little discussed yet is vital to patient dignity and care outcomes.

Katie Featherstone, director of the Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory at the University of West London, speaks about her research into the continence care of people with dementia during a hospital admission.

She discusses ‘pad cultures’ – the routine use of continence pads for these hospital patients regardless of their continence or independence.

Based on her team’s observation of six wards in three hospitals over 12 months, Professor Featherstone explains why this practice is happening and what can be done to change the culture.

She talks to RCNi senior nurse editor Richard Hatchett about the influence of workload and risk management on pad cultures and how senior nurses can show leadership in this area.

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