Health Care 'Struggling to Cope' with Dementia

  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that the healthcare system is struggling to cope with people who have dementia.

    They found that both hospitals and care homes are failing in vital areas with people not receiving the care they need, and the problem is increasing as people live longer.

     Irma Wants Some CoffeeThe CQC reviewed more than 20,000 inspections they had carried out as well as current data.

    Around one in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia in their lifetime. It is estimated that there are around 800,000 people at the moment with the condition, but as people are living longer that figure is rising.

    The review found that, in hospitals, dementia patients were more likely to face longer stays, be readmitted and die there. In 96% of hospital trusts, those with dementia stayed longer than those without, and in 85% of trusts were significantly more likely to die in hospital. In almost a third of hospital admissions of people with dementia, there was no record of the individual’s condition

    In care homes, CQC found they were not doing enough to keep patients well as in 78 of 151 NHS areas, people with dementia were more likely to be admitted to hospital for an avoidable reason than those without the condition in the care home.

    The care update also looked at care of people with learning disabilities and mental health problems in the independent sector, and found large disparities in quality.

    The CQC update concluded that there needs to be improvements; some trusts have already improved but not all. There needs to be better integration to ensure quality care is provided across all hospitals and care homes:

    This Care Update finds that the health and social care system is struggling to care adequately for people with dementia.

    This is having an impact on hospital capacity and resources. In more than half of primary care trust areas in the country, people with dementia living in a care home are more likely to go into hospital with avoidable conditions than similar people without dementia.

    CQC chief executive David Behan said:

    A patient-centred culture of care needs strong leadership, openness and transparency, and CQC will look closely at this in the coming year, particularly in those services caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

    Chief executive of NHS Confederation, Mike Farrar, said:

    Until every patient and service user, in every part of the country, gets first class care every single time, we are failing to achieve the standards the public rightly expects of us.

    The fact that care home residents who have dementia are more likely to require hospital treatment for avoidable conditions than people without dementia is wholly unacceptable.

    The number of people with dementia is rising, and is expected to reach 1 million in the next 30 years, so we must prepare properly now.

    Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society said:

    This report lays bare the scandalous extent to which the NHS is failing people with dementia.

    Hospitals are supposed to be places of recovery but people with dementia are going in too often, staying too long and dying in a hospital bed much more than those with any other condition.

    A quarter of hospital beds are occupied by someone with dementia. Staff better trained in dementia care will reduce the length of hospital stays and save the NHS millions of pounds.

     Image source:


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