We know that dementia is a significant challenge and a key priority for the NHS with an estimated 25% of acute beds occupied by people with dementia. We know that when people with dementia come into acute care their length of stay is longer than people without dementia. We know they are vulnerable to potentially avoidable complications like dehydration and falls, and we know that they are often subject to delays in leaving hospital and returning safely home.
We have been listening to people with dementia, their families and carers about what good care looks like, and about the transformation that can take place when we have the shared purpose to enable people with dementia to experience high-quality care in acute hospitals and when we support them, their families, carers and staff to have the confidence to champion best practice and create a culture of excellence.
Clinical, Academic and Managerial colleagues have all told us that we should focus on improving five key areas:
- The environment in which care is given
- The knowledge, skills and attitudes of the workforce
- The ability to identify and assess cognitive impairment
- The ability to support people with dementia to be discharged back home
- The use of a person-centred care plan which involves families and carers.
By making improvements in these areas we are able to reduce readmission rates, prevent over 6000 falls across the country, reducing the mortality rate of people with dementia in acute care, as well as improving the sense of pride and well-being in staff that care for people with dementia in acute hospitals.
For more information, please contact the National Dementia Action Alliance on firstname.lastname@example.org.