What could cause anxiety for those living with Dementia when in hospital?

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Feelings of anxiety are common for those living with Dementia when receiving treatment for other issues. But by being aware of these causes, you may be able to help alleviate these anxieties before they arise.

So what are the more common causes of anxiety in this environment?

Injury or Illness

The truth is they are in hospital because something is wrong. This would cause anyone a level of anxiety, only for those living with Dementia this may be heightened. For this, the only assistance you can offer is simply treatment and reassurance. They are in hospital to recover, and that’s what these actions will help them do.

Lack of familiarity

Finding themselves in a place they do not recognise can lead to feelings of anxiety. Again support and reassurance are essential. You can also try to involve them in activities or routines they enjoy or find familiar.


Sometimes those living with Dementia may struggle with day-to-day functions like bathing or dressing. This can lead to feelings of frustration, and ultimately anxiousness at having to face these tasks again. However, if supported and helped to complete these tasks, this can be avoided. It doesn’t mean completing the tasks for them, as independence is important, it’s simply about offering the necessary level of support required.


In some instances, people living with Dementia can behave inappropriately or have accidents. You should never make them feel ashamed of actions over which they have no control. Instead, be there to help support and reassure them at these times. And, where possible, try to divert them towards more calming pursuits.

Other patients

People living with Dementia can respond positively or negatively to the actions of those around them. It ultimately comes down to their actions. It’s also a difficult time for the other patient’s on the ward, and they may be experiencing their own difficulties.

For those living with Dementia, they can sometimes experience feelings of anxiety simply by recognising it in others. So it might be worth considering who they interact with during their stay.

Environmental factors

Being uncomfortable can cause anxiousness. So try to be aware of their surroundings. Are they too hot? Too cold? Hungry? Thirsty? Is it too bright? Too dark? Do they have space to move? And so on.

It might only seem slight to you, but even the slightest discomfort will only help compound what is already a difficult time for these patients.


Familiarity is so important, and that’s no different when it comes to people. Where possible try and use the same team; especially staff they respond positively to. Consider options like Dementia Support Workers, to give them greater support and company throughout their stay.

It’s impossible to list everything that may cause concern to a patient, as hospitals can be scary places for anyone. But if you manage the more common concerns for those living with Dementia, it can hugely help aid their recovery.

If you are interested in finding out how Ensign Care can support your ward, then call us on 0345 25 76 104 or fill in the form below.

We are an approved supplier on the NHS National Clinical Staffing Framework