This 2009 report says there is unacceptable variation in the quality of dementia care provided on general wards in hospitals across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are, however, examples of excellent local action. Recommendations for change are set out, including (quote):
- The NHS as a whole, and individual hospitals, must recognise that dementia is a significant, growing and costly problem for them, which lies at the heart of the agenda to drive efficiency and quality improvement.
- Reduction in the number of people with dementia being cared for in hospitals.
- Hospitals should identify a senior clinician to take the lead for quality improvement in dementia and for defining the care pathway.
- Commissioning of specialist liaison older people’s mental health teams to facilitate the management and care of people with dementia in hospitals.
- Ensuring there is an informed and effective acute care workforce in hospitals for people with dementia.
- Reduction in the use of antipsychotic drugs to treat people with dementia on a general ward.
- Involvement of people with dementia, carers, family and friends in the care of people with dementia to improve person-centred care.
- Ensuring that people with dementia have enough to eat and drink.
- Changing the approach to care for people with dementia to one of dignity and respect.
Counting the cost: caring for people with dementia on hospital wards. London: Alzheimer’s Society, 2010.