Widow reveals husband with dementia was seen by an astonishing 106 different carers in his last year



12:35 GMT, 18 May 2012

A widow has accused social workers of treating her husband without dignity after the dementia patient was seen by 106 different home carers in the year before he died.

Kenneth Maitland lived with his wife in Aberdeen and was seen by two carers four times a day before his recent admission to hospital.

Jeanette Maitland said she was given the impression her husband's care would be provided by a core group of 10 people, as patients with dementia find new faces and voices unsettling.

Marischal College, which is the home of Aberdeen City Council. A spokeswoman said they were looking into Mrs Maitland's concerns

Marischal College, which is the home of Aberdeen City Council. A spokeswoman said they were looking into Mrs Maitland's concerns

However, when she began writing down the names of the carers so she could get to know them, she was shocked when the list just kept getting longer.

'Each time a new face came so I kept writing, writing, writing, until we're here where we are today with 106 carers,' she told BBC Radio Scotland.

Mrs Maitland said her husband had always been an intensely private man and would have been horrified if he had realised how many different people helped with his bathing and personal care.

She asked: 'Where is respect for his dignity I feel I should have sold tickets.'

She said while she had no complaints about the standard of care she believed the number of carers had been inappropriate.

'Anyone who knows anything at all about dementia will know that they live in fear 87% of the time,' she said.

'Obviously the more regular the voice, the more regular the regime, the constancy of it all helps them to relax and be calm.'

George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the Alzheimer's Society, told Mail Online: 'Being cared for by a large number of carers can be very confusing for people with dementia. Continuity and a regular routine helps people with dementia feel calm and relaxed.

'It’s also difficult for care workers to provide good quality care if they aren’t given the time to understand the person’s needs. Home care should be commissioned and provided in a way that promotes independence and enables people to maintain a good quality of life.’

Aberdeen City Council chief executive Valerie Watts extended her condolence to Mrs Maitland and her family following Mr Maitland's death last week.

She said she had met with Mrs Maitland to discuss the care package her husband had received.

'I gave Mrs Maitland a personal assurance I would look into the concerns she raised and respond at the earliest opportunity,' she said.

There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and this is expected to rise to over a million people by 2021. Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community while a third live in a care home. The condition will cost the UK more than 23billion this year.

She added that council staff worked hard to deliver the best possible care package at all times.