Aesthetic ways of knowing: The mental health nurse experience of delirium superimposed on dementia. Mixed Methods Study

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People who have delirium superimposed on dementia in the UK may be cared for by registered mental health nurses, however there is little in the literature about delirium superimposed on dementia from a mental health nursing perspective.
This paper aims to:
1. Illuminate the experiences of RNMHs caring for people with delirium superimposed on dementia.
2. Explore the way in which mental health nurses “know” the people they care for, using aesthetic knowledge.
A mixed methods design guided by principles of Activity Theory. Purposive sampling was undertaken in NHS and care home settings. Data was collected via semi structured interviews and questionnaire. Thematic analysis of qualitative data was paired with simple descriptive statistics to describe the experience.

This paper discusses one key finding from a wider study (Pryor, 2021) relating to the object of care.
It is apparent that mental health nurses have a preference for aesthetic knowledge to support care. They need to “know” the person receiving care, and are influenced by knowing the individual in an aesthetic manner.
The ways in which mental health nurses know their patients influences their care delivery. Their willingness to engage with numerical scores or guidelines is impacted by their perception of their use or usefulness for care decisions. The aesthetic knowledge and practice of mental health nurses caring for people with delirium superimposed on dementia should be recognised and supported to better understand the person with delirium superimposed on dementia.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing older people
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Aug 2023

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