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Audit reveals poor hospital care for dementia patients

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A national audit commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) has shown that elderly patients with dementia are frequently experiencing substandard hospital care. The study states that 41% of hospitals do not provide adequate dementia training for new staff, and 11% do not train their nurses to assist people with memory related conditions.

In addition, in a figure that is particularly concerning for the wider elderly care community, the report revealed that a third of hospitals do not have guidance in place to make sure that the patient’s carer is kept fully informed and involved in decisions – a factor which could affect dementia care outside of NHS hospitals as well.

Head of policy at the Alzheimer’s Society George McNamara commented: “We know that staff want to improve their knowledge of dementia care, but they need to be offered the right tools, support and training to do so. Without a serious culture change to ensure that new policies are actually being put into everyday practice, care for people with dementia cannot and will not improve.”

Care minister Norman Lamb reinforced this sentiment: “Whilst there are excellent examples of dementia care in hospitals, this report highlights too many areas where care for patients has failed,” he concluded. He has now called on every hospital in the country to sign up to the Government’s call to action on dementia, a campaign designed to make hospitals “dementia friendly” and improve standards of dementia care across the country.

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