Dementia Acute Deterioration Pathway

Author: Dr Sarah Jones, Clinical Psychologist, Norwood Medical Centre / SY ICB

Date Published: February 2024

Date to Review: January 2027

Sheffield Dementia Acute Deterioration Pathway


The pathway:

o Clarifies (within existing commissioned and available services) what the best practice is for clinicians and emergency services when attending a dementia patient experiencing an acute deterioration in behavioural presentation (due to delirium or something affecting their dementia).

o Helps to improve the quality of care for dementia patients and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. For example:

Further information:

The Sheffield Dementia Acute Deterioration Pathway has been developed and agreed (during 2022/23) by a task and finish group of the cross-organisational Sheffield Dementia Strategy Implementation Group (crisis workstream). 

This was in response to feedback (from GPs, GP Out of Hours service, SHSC older adults mental health services, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Care Homes and South Yorkshire Police). Feedback was that these difficult to manage dementia acute deterioration incidents are infrequent but when they occur they have a significant negative impact on patient experience and outcomes and may result in an avoidable hospital admission. Some such incidents have also resulted in clinical and care staff being injured due to patients exhibiting insufficiently managed violent behaviour.  This pathway offers guidance to work towards addressing the challenges described above and to support good practice when managing these cases.