It is vital hospital staff are fully trained to care for dementia patients to prevent neglect or indignity in the future, a leading organisation has said. The Alzheimer’s Society in Wales said that a quarter of all hospital beds were occupied by patients with dementia who deserved personalised care from fully qualified staff.
Their comments follow the publication of a damning report into elderly care at Bridgend’s Princess of Wales and Neath Port Talbot hospitals.
The report found variable and poor professional behaviour and practice in the care of frail older people, lack of suitably qualified, educated and motivated staff, poor complaints management and a disconnection between frontline staff and managers. It also included shocking stories from patients, with one telling the review team: “I am in Hell.”
Health Minister Mark Drakeford said he was “shocked” by some of the findings of the report and both he and ABMU Health Board issued “unreserved” apologies to those who had been affected. It also prompted Prof Drakeford to announce spot-checks on elderly care in all district general hospitals.
Sue Phelps, director of Alzheimer’s Society in Wales, said: “It is saddening to hear that some vulnerable people are not receiving the personalised care they need and deserve. With a quarter of all hospital beds currently occupied by people with dementia, it is vital staff are fully trained to provide the best possible care and support. “With that in mind we welcome the recommendation that there should be an intensive education programme on delirium, dementia and dying in hospital, with all staff and volunteers receiving accredited dementia awareness training".
“When so many hospitals are already under strain, any commitments made must be backed by adequate resources and enough staff to deliver lasting improvements. Every patient in every hospital, and their families, should be sure that their treatment and care needs will always be met, to avoid anyone suffering neglect or indignity in the future.”
The Health Board said work had been underway to address the issues in the report and other actions were being taken “as a matter of urgency.”
Following the report, Prof Drakeford said: “The lapses of the kind we read in this report should never have been allowed to take place. I am determined that nothing of this sort will be tolerated in these two hospitals, in this health board or indeed anywhere else in Wales in the future. “I do not believe the failings outlined in this report are widespread in hospitals throughout Wales. But I am instigating a series of special spot checks in hospitals across the country to test standards of care and reassure patients.”
Source: Wales Online News
“I know from personal experience what a devastating effect Dementia can have, not only on the person with the condition but also on those around them. This recommendation is a real opportunity to ensure those providing care and support have access to relevant information that helps to maintain standards, which is a process that doesn’t have to be either challenging or expensive”. Ed Milburn - MD Red Rock Training.