Aims and Objectives: To examine the current status of dementia care competence of nurses working in acute care settings as well as the relationship between competence and demographic attributes. Background: Most people with dementia are older individuals when they are admitted to unfamiliar acute care settings for treatment, and they are prone to displaying BPSD. If nurses working in acute care settings are not sufficiently competent in dementia care, providing proper patient care is difficult. Design: The study used a one-sample descriptive-correlation design. Methods: This study enrolled nurses at two medical centres in southern Taiwan as the research participants and performed a stratified random sampling according to the units where they served. The Dementia Care Competence Scale was used for data collection. An independent samples t test, ANOVA and Pearson's product–moment correlation were performed for data analysis (See STROBE). Results: A total of 308 valid questionnaires were collected. The results showed that dementia care competence of nurses working in acute care settings was moderate. In particular, they had insufficient knowledge of the special needs related to dementia and lacked the skills and patience necessary for identifying, preventing and managing BPSD. Additionally, although the nurses tended to have a positive attitude, they seldom communicated with people with dementia. This study also found that dementia care competence was better in nurses who were older, who had more seniority, who had taken care of people with dementia for a longer period of time and who had received training in dementia care. Conclusions: Dementia care training topics for nurses working in acute care settings should include palliative care for dementia, skills for managing behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and communication techniques for improving person-centred care. Nurses should also be encouraged to maintain a warm, friendly attitude when providing patient care. Relevance to Clinical Practice: Continuing education in managing behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia is necessary for currently practicing acute care nursing staff and should be developed according to the staff's educational background and needs.
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