News: Important improvements in dementia care, but more support needed

Thursday 13 July 2017

NADNational Dementia Audit: Important improvements in dementia care, but more support needed report finds

Hospitals in England and Wales have made many positive changes aimed at making hospitals more “dementia-friendly”, an audit shows.

Overall nearly 70% of carers rated care as excellent or very good, and 75% said that the person with dementia was definitely treated with respect by staff.  Many more hospitals are providing dementia awareness training to all groups of staff, and 96% have a training framework for dementia care, up from 23% in the first round of audit in 2011. Nearly all hospitals (94%), have created dementia “champions” to lead change and support staff, following a recommendation made in Round 2.  

The audit also found: 

  • Personal information on care and communication needs of people with dementia could not always be accessed by staff, and over half of carers thought staff could be better informed.  
  • People with dementia were not always consulted about life changes
  • Less than half of patients had a recorded initial assessment for delirium 

The National Audit of Dementia, reviewed case notes of 10,047 patients with a diagnosis or current history of dementia and questionnaires from 14,416 staff and 4664 carers from 199 hospitals across England and Wales.

Key recommendations in the report are:

  1. The CEO should ensure that there is a dementia champion available to support staff 24 hrs per day, 7 days per week
  2. National Commissioners should propose a national programme aimed at embedding the collection, sharing and use of person centred information with a clear expectation this information will follow the patient between providers. 
  3. CEO's and commissioning services should make sure when tendering for new catering contracts that access to finger foods and snacks 24 hours a day is included.
  4. The Safeguarding Lead should ensure staff are trained in the Mental Capacity Act, including consent, appropriate use of best interests decision making, the use of Lasting Power of Attorney and Advance Decision Making. 
  5. The Medical Director should ensure that hospitals have robust mechanisms in place for assessing delirium including appropriate assessment on admission and discharge with full recording of results.

Beth Swanson Lead Nurse Dementia, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Consultant Nurse to the Audit said: “Over the past three rounds of the National Audit of Dementia we have seen significant improvements made by hospitals to improve care and experience for people with dementia. There is clearly more still to do. One key finding is that hospitals are developing good policies and guidelines for people with dementia but that these policies don’t always get fully put in practice. We can see that in feedback from carers and from staff. On the whole, there are notable markers of progress which should be celebrated. With continued investment and leadership across the NHS, care and experience for people with dementia will continue to improve”. 

Read the full report here

The audit is managed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in partnership with organisations representing healthcare professionals, people with dementia and carers.