As I read the comments I was begining to think no-one had heard of the Mental Capacity Act or DOLS, thankyou Stuart. I think the problem is that very few people have capacity assessments whilst in acute hospitals and consequently do not apply for DOLS.
In response to your question Mike, the nurses are not there because acute trust do not invest any money in employing any other discipline. You only have to look at the National Dementia Strategy to identify the savings that such nurses within the acute sector,could make and yet we have so few. As for insulting adult nurses, your comments may be very true about yourself but like everything else you are not in a position nor am i, to generalise for the rest of the nursing profession. There are obviously some nurses not providing basic care otherwise we wouldn't have had 'Death by Indifference' and we wouldn't have PCTs employing Strategic Health Facilitators.
On a professional and pesonal level I have witnessed the poor care recieved by patients who do not fit 'the norm' and if you care to read some of the reports by the likes of the Alzheimer's Society and look at your own hospitals length of stay for older people with dementia and their outcomes then you may begin to understand why people become upset.
To add to this the spotlight should not only be focussed on acute nurses but medics and community services also, who make no reasonable adjustments and then threaten to ban people with severe dementia from surgeries for being disruptive.
Also in the current economic climate we are likely to see a scaling down of expensive specialist nurses and a greater emphasis on education, training and collaborative working.
As a final note i would add to Mike that in some cases you do have the specialist to hand, there is no-one better placed to assist you then the carer, don't ignore a valuable resource.
I accept what Mike says to some extent but not being a specialist in learning disabilities or mental health is not an excuse for poor treatment. People should not die in hospital because nurses do not know how to assess them or how to treat them because they are not considered the 'norm'. Providing a second class service to someone because it is just too hard to communicate with them or because they are a 'nuisance' is not acceptable either.
Having mental health or LD nurses holding the hands of general nurses is like asking for an interpretor to be sent along, they know little about the physical needs which are obviously the over riding problem otherwise the person wouldn't be on the ward. So what is their role? Should the question not be to improve understanding and communication so that nurses feel better equipped to carry out assessments. Also have someone review and develop more appropriate assessment tools that make allowances for communication difficulties.
Also there is an expectation that MH & LD nurses have a basic knowledge and understanding of medical process ie assessment and treatment of UTI/Chest infections/peg feeds/IV drips etc so is it really too much to ask for adult nurses to have a better understanding of LD problems and improved communication techniques?
It was obvious that the Tories were going to go for the easy touch and attack NHS wages. And no doubt we will just let them walk all over us, like we always do. I think it is time that nurses showed politicians that they have teeth and claws and our unions should support us. I am happy to have my wage reviewed if MP's are happy to forego their expenses and be paid the same as nurses, this goes for the fat cat bankers as well.