A total of 55 acute hospital trusts have agreed to work towards raising standards of care for patients with dementia.
The Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) has launched a campaign to make all hospitals across the country dementia-friendly by March 2013, by tailoring care to the individual and working with the patient’s relatives and carers.
The DAA also wants to make sure staff are trained to care effectively for those with dementia and carry out proper assessments of any cognitive impairment as well as making sure patients receive enough help and support once they leave the hospital environment.
The DAA’s initiative, which is called ‘The Right Care: creating dementia friendly hospitals’, intends to try and reduce the number of people with dementia who die while being looked after in hospital, as well as cutting the amount of patients who need to be readmitted. It also wants measures to be put in place to support patients to try and decrease the number of falls suffered nationally by at least 6,000.
At the moment 25% of beds in hospitals are filled by people with dementia, who typically take longer to discharge than those receiving the same treatment but who have no cognitive impairment.
The DAA claims many patients with dementia are discharged from hospital in a worse state than they were admitted as poor care can cause major setbacks to both physical and mental health.
And it says one in three people with dementia are not able to go back to their home after a hospital stay.
One of the hospitals which has signed up to the DAA’s campaign is Bradford Teaching Hospital. Work has already been done by the trust to refurbish two wards to make them a calmer and more relaxing environment for those with dementia.
The hospital is also teaching its staff to be more aware of dementia and the best way to care for patients with the condition and all its workers will have completed dementia awareness training by the end of next year. Bradford is also working on creating the role of dementia lead nurse.
Commenting on the initiative, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We have made tremendous progress this year in raising awareness of dementia and improving the environments in which people with the condition are treated but there is still much more to do.
“That is why the support, commitment and enthusiasm of the army of volunteers, charities and hospitals is so important. They play a key part in tackling one of the most critical challenges we are facing today.”