EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Appropriateness of using a symbol to identify dementia and/or delirium

Hines, Sonia, Abbey, Jennifer, Wilson, Jacinda, & Sacre, Sandy (2010) EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Appropriateness of using a symbol to identify dementia and/or delirium. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 8(3), pp. 126-128.

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Background Alzheimer’s Australia contracted the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre – Consumers, Carers and Social Research to conduct a systematic review to explore the appropriateness of a symbol for dementia. The concept of a symbol for people with dementia was an outcome of the Alzheimer’s Australia National Consumer Summit on Dementia held in Canberra in October 2005. People living with dementia and their carers identified that a national symbol would be helpful in order to encourage appropriate treatment of people with dementia. Funding was provided as part of the Australian Government’s Dementia Initiative to Alzheimer’s Australia to work in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology and Catholic Health Australia to explore, through research, the viability and potential impact of such a symbol in a range of care settings. Objectives The main objective of this systematic review was to evaluate any published and unpublished evidence regarding the appropriateness of developing a symbol for dementia and/or delirium, which could be used in a variety of settings to indicate that a person has dementia and/or delirium. Search strategy A literature search was performed using the following databases: Ageline, APAIS Health, CINAHL, Dissertations and Theses Abstracts, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycEXTRAS, PsycINFO, PsycArticles, Current Contents, LegalTrac,Health and Society, Sociological Abstracts, Family and Society, CINCH, and Hein Online databases. The reference lists of articles retrieved were hand searched, as well as a range of literature from health, legal, ethical and emergency services. Grey literature was searched for using a number of Internet sites, and personal email communication with authors of relevant studies and known researchers in the field was initiated. Selection criteria Papers were retrieved if they provided information about attitudes or perceptions towards the appropriateness of symbols, identifiers or alerts used to inform others that someone has dementia, delirium and/or another medical condition or functional impairment. Any references to symbols, identifiers or alerts being used to indicate a particular type of service were also considered. Data collection and analysis Retrieved papers were critically appraised by two reviewers, using tools developed by the Joanna Briggs Institute. Due to the type and clinical heterogeneity of papers retrieved, meta-analysis was not possible, and a narrative summary was developed instead. Findings The systematic review revealed that several different symbols and identifiers are in current use, in various parts of the world, to represent a range of medical and functional conditions, including dementia, delirium, falls risk, diabetes, and vision impairment. According to the papers reviewed, the most commonly used colour of symbols representing dementia was blue. There was general consensus amongst the literature that a symbol for dementia is appropriate in the acute care setting. It was also clear from the research that an abstract symbol, as opposed to one which explicitly attempts to depict dementia, was most acceptable to staff, people with dementia and their carers. There appeared to be some support for the use of a body worn symbol (on a bracelet) for people with dementia who may go missing from their home, aged care facility or day centre. Future research should concentrate on the appropriateness of a dementia symbol for commonly used services such as public transport and banking, and the acceptability of large scale marketing campaigns if a dementia symbol were to be introduced at a state or national level. In addition, further research is recommended into the acceptability of such a symbol across a wide range of different cultural and linguistic groups.

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ID Code: 18502
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: dementia, nursing, patient advocacy, systematic review
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-1609.2010.00169.x
ISSN: 1744-1595
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Joanna Briggs Institute, Royal Adelaide Hospital
Deposited On: 01 Jun 2009 01:32
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2017 11:03

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