Care homes struggle to care for people with advanced dementia, new research finds

Published 5 March 2016

New research released today, Saturday 5 March, has raised concerns over the care of people with advanced dementia living in care homes, who are approaching the end of life.

The research, conducted by Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department at UCL, highlighted that people with dementia often receive fragmented and inadequate end of life care. Low staff morale and insuffient training have left care home staff feeling unable to recognise and respond to the complex needs of people with advanced dementia.

Isolation from the wider health and social care system and lack of access to specialist support, such as end of life care services, were also highlighted as barriers to providing high quality care.

George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer's Society, said:

'70 per cent of care home residents live with dementia and have complex needs, particularly in the advanced stages of the condition. It is desperately concerning that care home staff don’t feel adequately trained or supported to provide specialist end of life care. The reality is that, without this, people with dementia could be denied a dignified and pain free death. Worst of all, this can often result in the human misery and economic cost of an emergency hospital admission in their final days.

'We urgently need a care home revolution to transform the quality of the care and support provided. The workforce should be well-trained and invested in, on a par with the NHS, and not a poor relation.'

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