Insufficient care placing hundreds of thousands of people with dementia at risk
Published 24 January 2011
Quarter of a million people with dementia are being let down by care and support that fails to meet their needs an Alzheimer’s Society report found today (Tuesday 25 January 2011).
According to 'Support. Stay. Save. Care and support of people with dementia in their own homes', this substandard care will result in 50,000 people being forced into care homes early. For each avoidable month these people spend in care, the state will face a bill of at least £70 million. Tens of thousands more will be admitted to hospital unnecessarily.
Carers who said the person with dementia was not receiving sufficient care and support (50%) spoke of people being left bedridden, wearing unchanged incontinence pads and malnourished. More than half (52%) of carers were also being put at risk of stress, depression and other serious illnesses because they were being left to struggle unsupported.There is clear evidence home care staff want to be empowered with additional training and support to help them provide quality dementia care and 72% said they appreciate people with dementia have special needs. However only 10% said they think the care people with dementia living at home receive meets all their needs.
In the current environment of spending cuts, Alzheimer's Society predicts the situation is set to get much worse. The charity is now calling on commissioners to think long term and invest in dementia services and training to keep more people out of hospitals and care homes and to save the NHS and councils from bankruptcy.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer's Society said:
Kevin Whately, Alzheimer's Society ambassador and author of the report's foreword, said:
'It is an absolute travesty that so many people with dementia are being forced to struggle without the care and support they need. The consequences of this represent an unacceptable human and financial cost.'Half a million people with dementia live in the community and many will need help with everyday tasks such as eating meals, washing or going to the toilet. This help not only maintains dignity but prevents serious health issues. While staying at home is not right for everyone we know many people want to remain in the familiar surroundings they are used to with family or loved ones. Only with the right support will this be possible.'
'I know from caring for my mum just how much care and support people with dementia can need to help them live a quality life in their own home. We were fortunate that we had access to some excellent carers and the difference they made to my mum's life was immeasurable. It pains me to think that there are so many people out there struggling alone. This is an unacceptable situation that we can't let continue.'
Delia Fox, who cared for her husband Bill who had dementia until he died last year, and who now gives talks to Alzheimer's Society carer groups, said:
'Support. Stay. Save. Care and support of people with dementia in their own homes',which is based on a survey of 1,436 people with dementia and carers and 989 home care workers found:
'Trying to get help with caring for Bill was an absolute nightmare. Even after he was left bedridden following a hospital stay, social services refused to provide any support. I was able to get some care privately but this was nowhere near enough and I had no choice but to become a 24 hour carer.'Bill eventually died at home which is what he would have wanted but the end of his life could have been so different had we had the right support. He wouldn't have ended up in hospital, he could have walked for much longer and wouldn't have been stuck in bed. I want to do everything I can now to prevent more people going through what Bill and I were forced to endure.'
- 50% of people with dementia who live at home aren't getting the care and support they need
- 1 in 10 carers said poor care resulted in the person with dementia having an avoidable admission into hospital
- 1 in 10 carers said poor care resulted in the person with dementia going into residential care earlier than expected
- 52% of carers said they weren't receiving enough care and support to help them fulfil their caring role. This has a negative impact on their health and the health of the person with dementia
- 83% of carers say living at home is very important to the person with dementia
- 44% of carers said the person with dementia was receiving enough care and support. Around half of these people believed this had a positive impact on symptoms of dementia and on carer health
- Only 10% of home care workers think the care and support people with dementia receive in their own homes meets all their needs
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