3. The statistics
There are over 700,000 people with dementia in England, with this figure expected to increase to around 850,000 by 2021.
In a 2015 poll of over 570 carers, families and friends of people with dementia:
- Only 2% said that in their experience all hospital staff understood the specific needs of people with dementia
- 57% per cent said they felt the person they care for was not treated with understanding and dignity in hospital
- 90% per cent said they felt the person with dementia became more confused while in hospital
- 92% per cent thought hospital environments were frightening for the person with dementia
- Only 69% of hospital trusts are properly screening patients over 75 for dementia on admission, despite being offered financial incentives to do so.
Inconsistent hospital recording of the numbers of people with dementia who have fallen means this data was only available for a quarter of hospitals, but even in this small sample 6,834 falls were reported last year. In these hospitals an average of 28.3% of people aged over 65 who had a fall were people with dementia, but these numbers were as high as 52.2% to 70.6% in the three worst performing hospitals.
Length of stay
On average, people with dementia spend nearly four times as long in hospital following a fall and the resulting frailty from a fall and an extended stay in hospital can increase the likelihood of them being unable to return home.
It took 10,000 people to make them listen
Nobody should have to go into a hospital where they are five times as likely to have a fall as at the next nearest hospital, or are likely to have to stay twice as long. There is also no excuse for wasting £264.2 million a year on extra care needed because of falls, unnecessary extra days spent in hospital and avoidable emergency re-admissions of people with dementia.
That's why we called on Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, to ensure that all hospital trusts in England publish an annual 'dementia statement' setting out the quality of dementia care they provide. This will arm patients with information about their local hospital and drive improvements throughout the system.
And it worked! After 10,00 people emailed Simon Stevens he replied to us:
'NHS England will be encouraging trusts to publish an annual dementia statement, to set out the quality of the care they provide. Additionally, we are exploring, with the Department of Health, ways in which we could require hospitals to publish an annual dementia statement.'
How you can help
It's only with the support of people like you that we can achieve change, pressuring central and local governments to give people affected by dementia what is their right.