Clinical usefulness and feasibility of using Reality Orientation with patients who have dementia in acute care settings


Bev O'Connell, School of Nursing, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia. Email:


Reality Orientation (RO) was developed as a strategy to assist people with dementia to improve their orientation and everyday function. Although its efficacy has been extensively studied in long-term care facilities, its effectiveness has rarely been examined in acute care settings. The aim of this review was to examine the studies cited in systematic reviews of RO to determine the potential clinical usefulness and the feasibility of using RO in acute care settings. Based on this information, the authors make recommendations for future research in this area. The feasibility of implementing RO in acute care poses challenges because of the short time a patient is in hospital and their ability to participate given their acute medical condition. Although the efficacy and feasibility of using RO in acute care settings have not been sufficiently examined, its potential to improve care should not be ignored. A comprehensive and rigorous study is necessary to investigate the usefulness of RO in the acute care setting and to help establish clinical guidelines for dementia care in the context of acute care nursing.