Charity warns of ‘shocking’ failures in dementia care

The number of people with dementia admitted to hospital when it could be prevented is climbing, a charity has warned.

Alzheimer’s Society figures, based on an overview of 45 NHS trusts in the UK, revealed that even before the pandemic preventable hospital admissions were on the rise and she expects it to get worse due to inadequate social care.

The charity said that in the last month alone it had heard “shocking” reports of people with dementia losing the ability to walk, contracting pneumonia and being rushed to hospital with patients. preventable kidney damage due to dehydration.

Data from 45 FOI trusts revealed a 27% increase between 2015 and 2019 in preventable admissions for dementia patients, from 60,023 to 76,369.

The Alzheimer Society asked how many people over 65 with dementia had an emergency admission that could have been avoided with improved and earlier support in the community.

The Alzheimer Society has warned of increasing numbers of people with dementia admitted to hospital (Ben Birchall / PA)

This included falls, delirium, gastroenteritis, influenza, lung infections, urinary tract infections, and dehydration.

The charity found that in 2019, nearly two-thirds (65%) of all emergency admissions for people with dementia were for preventable illnesses and injuries from care failures.

He said that while an increase in the number of people with dementia contributed in part to the increase in admissions, cuts in spending on adult social care had a bigger impact.

It comes after charities, politicians and campaign groups raised concerns about the lack of a comprehensive social protection plan in the Queen’s Speech last week.

Boris Johnson promised reform of the system when he became Prime Minister in July 2019.

Standing on Downing Street, he said: “My job is to protect you or your parents or grandparents from the fear of having to sell your house to pay for the child care costs.

“And so I am announcing now, on the steps of Downing Street, that we will resolve the welfare crisis once and for all with a clear plan that we have prepared to give every senior the dignity and security that she deserves.”

To mark Dementia Week of Action, the Alzheimer Society is releasing a new television ad calling on the government to “cure the care system.”

A companion survey of 795 unpaid caregivers with dementia found that 48% had performed tasks for which they did not feel qualified due to a lack of support and that, as a result, 72% of those with dementia of dementia had medical problems at home.

About three in ten people with dementia have suffered preventable falls (29%), one in six missed medication (16%) and one in five were injured at home (22%), according to the survey.

One in nine caregivers (11%) also said their loved one was rushed to hospital in a preventable emergency.

Regarding the impact on their own health, 95% of caregivers said their physical or mental health was affected, 69% felt constantly exhausted, 64% were anxious and 49% were depressed.

Kate Lee, CEO of the Alzheimer Society, said: “The lockdown has left people with dementia cut off from support and life-saving care.

“Interrupted routines, loneliness and isolation have contributed to the rapid progression of symptoms, which means there are now more people than ever struggling for rare dementia care.

“Without urgent action, preventable hospital admissions will skyrocket, costing the NHS millions.”

Ms Lee said decades of chronic underfunding and neglect “have led to an inadequate and deeply unfair health care system” and the pandemic “has exposed these failings like never before”.

She added: “People with dementia have been the hardest hit, accounting for over a quarter of all deaths and many more rapidly deteriorating from the ripple effects of the lockdown; family caregivers are exhausted.

“This cannot be the kind of society we expect today and want to age in, never again will people affected by dementia face such devastation.”

“The legacy of this terrible year must be a reformed welfare system, free at the point of use and on par with the NHS.”

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