95 per cent of hospitals do not have mandatory training in dementia for all staff according to an interim report published today (Thursday, 16 December 2010) by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The National Audit on Dementia, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, examined the care provided by 206 hospitals across England and Wales to 7,900 patients.
The research echoes Alzheimer's Society's Counting the Cost report published last year. The report revealed large variations in the quality of care and found that many people with dementia were going into hospital and coming out worse. This audit found that a third of patients had not received an assessment of their nutritional status. Malnutrition and dehydration can have a serious impact on the symptoms of dementia and people's physical health.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Society, says,
'When a quarter of hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia it is unacceptable that so many hospitals are failing to train their staff. Assessing someone's nutritional status is also vital if we are to stop people getting worse in hospital rather than better. We know hospital staff want to do a good job but without training and support they are being prevented from providing good quality dementia care.'
'The latest King's Fund report says that £300million could be saved by doing better things for people with dementia in hospitals. Hospitals need to commit to reducing the length of stay for people with dementia and reinvest these savings in workforce development and more appropriate care in the community.'
The audit found that 80 per cent of hospitals did not have a system in place to ensure ward staff were aware that a person has dementia. This suggests that many people are still not receiving the person centred care they deserve. People with dementia can become agitated and confused when they are in an unfamiliar environment and it is this behaviour that nurses can find challenging - despite this, only 35 per cent had a strategy in place to address these symptoms.
Jeremy Hughes continues,
'Despite the obvious lack of improvement in some hospitals, we should not ignore the fact that some are making moves to improve dementia care. With the right commitment we can reduce avoidable hospital visits, stop people deteriorating whilst there and allow them to return home rather than moving into care. In just 15 years a million people with be living with dementia. We need all hospitals to act now.'
Source Alzheimer's Soc