People with dementia in hospitals are dying at a significantly higher rate than people without the condition according to a new report released by the Care Quality Commission.
The CQC’s Care Update 2013 finds that the health and social care systems are struggling to care for people with dementia and that the resulting pressure is having an impact on hospital capacity.
The report, a themed review into dementia care, showed that the rate of people with dementia dying was higher than all other conditions in 85 per cent of hospital trusts. It also found that people with the condition in care homes are going into hospital for avoidable reasons significantly more than those without. Once in hospital, people with dementia are staying too long, being readmitted too often and ultimately dying there.
According to the commission:
In over half (78 out of 151) of primary care trusts, people with dementia in care homes were admitted to hospital for an avoidable reason significantly more than people without dementia.
In almost all (96 per cent) of hospital trusts people with dementia stayed significantly longer than those without the condition after being admitted in an emergency. In three quarters (76 per cent) of trusts they stayed significantly longer when admitted for any reason.
In 70 per cent of hospitals people with dementia were being readmitted significantly more than people without the condition.
Alzheimer’s Society research shows that hundreds of millions of pounds could be saved by the NHS by shortening the time people with dementia stay in hospital by a week. The charity warns that dementia care in hospitals must be improved in order to avoid a repeat of the Mid-Staffs scandal. Last year, Alzheimer’s Society joined 100 organisations to launch the Dementia Action Alliance's The Right Care call to action, demanding urgent change in hospitals. So far just over 70 of 168 hospital trusts have made the commitment to improving dementia care.
Alzheimer’s Society is calling for hospitals to drive up standards by appointing dementia champions on each ward, training all staff in dementia and ensuring all people with dementia who are admitted have a diagnosis.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at 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. Tolerating inaction on dementia care even a day longer is tantamount to playing Russian roulette with the lives of people with the condition. If we’re to avoid the next Mid-Staffs we need hospitals to commit to improve care now.'