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Training interventions to improve general hospital care for older people with cognitive impairment: systematic review

  • Clare Abley (a1), Claire Dickinson (a2), Zoe Andrews (a3), Laura Prato (a4), Lyndsay Lindley (a4) and Louise Robinson (a5)...



In response to increasing numbers of older people in general hospitals who have cognitive impairment such as dementia and delirium, many hospitals have developed education and training programmes to prepare staff for this area of clinical practice.


To review the evidence on educational interventions on hospital care for older people with cognitive impairment.


A mixed methods systematic review and narrative synthesis was undertaken. The following electronic databases were searched: Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EBM Reviews, ASSIA and Scopus, as well as Health Management Information Consortium (HMIC), ProQuest, PubMed and SCIE: Social Care Online. Initial searches were run in August 2014 (update search September 2016). Titles and abstracts of studies retrieved were screened independently. The full text of eligible studies were then independently assessed by two review team members. All included studies were assessed using a standard quality appraisal tool.


Eight studies relating to delirium, six on dementia and two on delirium and dementia were included, each testing the use of a different educational intervention. Overall, the quality of the studies was low. In relation to delirium, all studies reported a significant increase in participants' knowledge immediately post-intervention. Two of the dementia studies reported an increase in dementia knowledge and dementia confidence immediately post-intervention.


The variety of outcomes measured makes it difficult to summarise the findings. Although studies found increases in staff knowledge, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that educational interventions for staff lead to improved patient outcomes.

Declaration of interest



Corresponding author

Correspondence: Clare Abley, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Biomedical Research Building, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 5PLUK. Email:


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Training interventions to improve general hospital care for older people with cognitive impairment: systematic review

  • Clare Abley (a1), Claire Dickinson (a2), Zoe Andrews (a3), Laura Prato (a4), Lyndsay Lindley (a4) and Louise Robinson (a5)...


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Training interventions to improve general hospital care for older people with cognitive impairment: systematic review

  • Clare Abley (a1), Claire Dickinson (a2), Zoe Andrews (a3), Laura Prato (a4), Lyndsay Lindley (a4) and Louise Robinson (a5)...
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