Care home staff must undergo mandatory training in caring for patients with dementia, according to a report from a leading charity.
Two-thirds of care home residents in the UK have some form of dementia, yet the majority of staff are not adequately trained in how to care for them, says a report from the Alzheimer’s Society.
The report, published last week, is based on a survey of more than 3,500 care home staff, managers and relatives of people with dementia. It found that the average person with dementia living in a care home would spend just two minutes in every six hours interacting with other people.
The report also revealed huge inequalities in standards of residential care, with 40% of care home residents with dementia in non dementia-registered beds. One in three care home managers also said they had little or no support from local older people’s mental health services.
Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said dementia training was essential to ensure care home staff understood the reality of the condition, as well as the positive impact they could have on people living with dementia.
Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, called for a complete overhaul of care home training. ‘Dementia is a very complex condition that requires a lot of expert care and needs better resources for the training of staff,’ he said.
‘Responsibility for delivering effective training packages needs to be devolved and put in the hands of service providers, who can monitor progress and assess if services are improving.
‘Standards of care also need to be reviewed,’ he added. ‘If people with dementia are not in recognised dementia-registered beds or units, it can create difficulties in the general residential population.
‘Care homes need a clearer strategy for implementing agreed minimum standards of care across the board.’