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Dementia patients must get a ‘fair deal’, says RCN

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The Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference has voted in favour of lobbying to ensure better care and treatment for dementia patients while in hospital.

The discussion was first introduced by Andrew Tumilson from the RCN’s Northern branch, who asked whether people with dementia got a “fair deal” when they were admitted to hospital.

“It is vital that improvements are made so that nobody suffers unnecessary distress”

Dawne Garrett

The issue proved very popular with conference delegates, who voted to change the original matter for discussion into a resolution. Many people queuing up to speak, many with personal as well as professional experience of the condition.

Congress chair Stuart McKenzie also opted to give the debate an extra 30 minutes on top the time previously allotted due to the number of members wanting to contribute to the discussion.

The resolution was carried with four abstainers and two votes against.

In response, Dawne Garrett, the RCN’s professional lead for care of older oeople and dementia, said: “There have been big improvements in awareness and understanding of dementia in recent years, but the experience of too many people who go into hospital is still falling short.  

“Nurses have led the way in developing support for people living with dementia, and those who care for them, which makes a huge difference to the distress and confusion many experience during a hospital visit,” she said. “But the reality too often involves long waits on trolleys, separation from loved ones, and in some cases being moved around at night.

“It is vital that improvements are made so that nobody suffers unnecessary distress. This is partly about the hospital environment and processes, but it is also about better provision in the community and improved social care,” said Ms Garrett.

“Many of us will be affected by dementia in the future, and we need to act. Better treatments are part of the solution but we need better strategies in place right now to minimise distress and offer the best care,” she added.

In a recent RCN survey, 45% of nurses thought that dementia would prove the biggest health issue of the future, with 84% already seeing their work affected by the ageing population. 


That this meeting of congress asks congress to lobby for better policy to ensure a fair deal for dementia patients and carers when admitted to acute care

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Would be good to see Nurse experienced in dementia in A&E might make the initial entrance to all hospital stays a bit more dementia friendly and would be a great advocate for the patients and staff.

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