Dementia victims 'have twice the risk of dying in hospital while a third are not properly diagnosed by staff'
Charities have described the situation for dementia sufferers as ‘scandalous’ Dementia patients are twice as likely to die in hospital than other patients
The Government has pledged 50 million to improve dementia care
01:11 GMT, 12 March 2013
01:40 GMT, 12 March 2013
Hospitals are failing to properly care for dementia sufferers who are twice as likely to die in them than all other patients, a damning report reveals.
In almost a third of cases staff are not even bothering to record patients have the illness when they are admitted.
This means they are denied the extra help they desperately need which hinders their chance of recovery.
Failing dementia sufferers: The Care Quality Commission has found that dementia patients in hospital are twice as likely to die there
Charities have described the present state of hospital care as ‘scandalous’ and accuse staff of playing ‘Russian roulette’ with patients’ lives.
The report by the Care Quality Commission also shows that dementia sufferers are far more likely to be admitted to hospital in the first case as they are prone to conditions caused by neglect such as bedsores, dehydration and malnutrition.
This may be because care home staff are not providing adequate help with food or drink or preventing falls.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘This report lays bare the scandalous extent to which the NHS is failing people with dementia.
‘Hospitals are supposed to be places of recovery but people with dementia are going in too often, staying too long and dying in a hospital bed much more than those with any other condition.
‘A quarter of hospital beds are occupied by someone with dementia. Staff better trained in dementia care will reduce the length of hospital stays and save the NHS millions of pounds.
‘Tolerating inaction on dementia care even a day longer is tantamount to playing Russian roulette with the lives of people with the condition.’
The CQC looked at the records of a million patients admitted to hospital of whom 400,000 had dementia.
It found that 29 per cent of patients with dementia who went to hospital did not have the condition recorded by medical staff.
Government pledge to improve dementia care: Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, meeting dementia sufferer Monica Kneebone at Kings College Hospital in London last year
And in more than half of primary care trusts, dementia sufferers were significantly more likely to go to hospital with a condition caused by neglect than other patients.
Figure show that 800,000 Britons have been diagnosed with the devastating condition but this is expected more than double by 2050.
Last year the Government promised to set aside 50 million to help hospitals improve the care for dementia patients.
It is hoped that some of the money will be spent decorating wards in bright colours so patients can find their way around and on improved training for staff.
But the CQC warns that at present, hospitals are struggling to cope with patients’ complex needs.
Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: ‘The fact that care home residents who have dementia are more likely to require hospital treatment for avoidable conditions than people without dementia is wholly unacceptable.
‘The number of people with dementia is rising, and is expected to reach one million in the next 30 years, so we must prepare properly now.’
Norman Lamb, minister for Care and Support said: ‘We have recently set out our vision for how all NHS trusts should strive to be the best.
‘The same aspiration should apply to care homes and to the delivery of care at home. There is no excuse for delivering poor care.
‘By exposing bad practice, and highlighting best practice, we are determined to drive up standards for everyone.