Dementia patients “suffer under care of undertrained NHS staff”Just one in three staff said they had sufficient trainingFirst National Audit of Dementia covered 210 hospitals in England and Wales

Thousands of dementia patients are suffering at the hands of undertrained hospital staff who fail to treat them as individuals and ignore their calls for help, a report has found.

Patients are deprived of the simple comfort of seeing family photos or cards.

On almost two out of three wards, or 59 per cent, personal items are not situated where they can reassure patients who are often frightened and confused, the first National Audit of Dementia, covering 210 hospitals in England and Wales, says.

Concerns: The first National Audit of Dementia has revealed many sufferers are at risk from undertrained NHS staff

Concerns: The first National Audit of Dementia has revealed many sufferers are at risk from undertrained NHS staff (file picture)

Just one in three staff said they had sufficient training in caring for those suffering from dementia and half are not properly trained to communicate with those suffering from Alzheimer’s or deal with aggressive behaviour.

The report criticised the ‘impersonal’ way in which dementia patients are treated – despite them occupying a quarter of beds.

Pledge: Care services Minister Paul Burstow said hospitals will be encouraged to identify patients at risk

Pledge: Care services Minister Paul Burstow said hospitals will be encouraged to identify patients at risk

Staff do not always greet or talk to patients during care. They do not always explain what they are doing or offer a choice, and sometimes they do not respond to requests for help, the report added.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘This shocking report proves once again that we urgently need a radical shake-up of hospital care.

Given that people with dementia occupy a quarter of hospital beds and that many leave in worse health than when they were admitted, it is unacceptable that training in dementia care is not the norm.’

Care services minister Paul Burstow said: ‘We set this audit up to put dementia care in hospital under the spotlight.

‘It has found some excellent practice, but it has revealed far too many hospitals failing to put in place dementia-friendly care.

‘That is why we are putting in place a new financial incentive for hospitals that identify patients at risk, so they get the specialised care they need.’