Dec 18, 2011

Dementia Patients Deserve Better

Whatever the details, we need to take immediate action. No elderly man should become more ill in a hospital because no one has time to help him with the water jug.

Alzheimer's Reading Room

Andrea Gillies
The inadequacy of human feeling evident in hospital culture is in the news again, on the heels of the health service ombudsman's report about neglect of the elderly.

This time the focus is on those with dementia. It makes depressing reading. The first National Audit of Dementia (pdf), an NHS-funded survey, went into 145 wards of 55 hospitals, interviewed more than 2,200 staff, and observed 105 patients with dementia.

The researchers came across some good practice, but on the whole they were unimpressed, and frequently horrified.

Many staff had no illusions: two-thirds admitted they were insufficiently trained to deal with dementia.

But should a nurse have to be further trained to ensure that an old lady is fed, washed, soothed?

It's hard to escape the conclusion that, unless the postcode lottery pays off, a ward is no longer a place for someone who's immobile, or has trouble with talking and thinking, or struggles with following instructions.

Read More and Comment at the Guardian

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room