Alzhemer's Society say hospital system on the brink of crisis
A new report by the Royal College of Physicians show that the hospital system is struggling to cope, particularly with complex needs such as dementia being hit hardest.
Figures in the report show that there are a third fewer general and acute beds now than there were 25 years ago, and yet the there has been a 37% increase in emergency admissions in the last decade.
65% of people who are admitted to hospital are over 65 years old, and often hospital buildings, services and staff are not equipped to deal with those with multiple, complex needs including dementia. The report shows it is having detrimental effects on patient care. There is a lack of continuity of care and it is not uncommon for patients, particularly older patients, to be moved four or five times during a hospital stay.
The report finds that:
Older people are at particular risk as they account for 70% of bed days.
Research shows that medical and nursing staff often feel that older patients ‘shouldn’t be there’.
Being perceived as the 'wrong patient on the wrong ward' has been shown to reduce the quality of care, building attitudes of resentment from both medical and nursing staff.
Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes has said:
People with dementia occupy a quarter of hospital beds, yet constantly we hear that they face poor quality care from staff not trained in dementia care. Bearing this in mind, these latest findings are alarming but, unfortunately, not surprising.
It is painfully evident that the healthcare system stands on the brink of crisis. People with dementia are going into hospital unnecessarily, staying in too long and coming out worse. Supporting people to live well at home and reducing the length of time a person stays in hospital can both improve quality of life and save the NHS hundreds of millions per year.
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