The first national audit of the quality of dementia care in Ireland reveals that hospitals here are not equipped to deal with it.
It affects 25% of in-patients at any one time and costs the state €21m each year.
But figures published today show that 91% of hospital wards have no access to psychology services, while over a third of wards have unfilled healthcare assistant vacancies.
Dr Suzanne Timmons, Consultant Geriatrician at UCC-Mercy Hospital carried out the research. She claims the low standard of dementia care in hospitals continues to affect the overall well-being of patients.
"For a person with dementia, it must be much more challenging and much more frightening," she said.
"If you're used to being at home with someone you recognise, and you're used to your own routine, the acute hospital must be a very frightening place - and this is why everyone who works in a hospital needs to improve their practices."