Move to Improve Dementia Care Levels

Article excerpt

A NEW tool has been launched in a bid to tackle poor dementia care in hospitals.

The "This is Me" leaflet gives healthcare professionals a snapshot of the person behind the dementia. It can be filled by the patient or their carers and given to staff on admission to hospital.

The Alzheimer's Society, which developed the initiative, said it is vital for person-centred dementia care and will help hospital staff respond to individual needs and concerns.

It has been backed by actor and Alzheimer's Society ambassador Kevin Whately, whose mother had dementia.

He said: "My mum became very ill in hospital. Someone would bring her a tray of food then collect it untouched because she'd forgotten to eat it. I think if staff had access to a tool like this they would have known that she needed encouragement to eat the food and maybe she wouldn't have become so weak."

The society also hopes This is Me will help hospital staff respond to - or even prevent - challenging behaviour, which people with dementia often exhibit in distressing and confusing surroundings.

Ian Thomas, director of the Alzheimer's Society in Wales, said: "People with dementia are staying too long in hospital and many are discharged in worse health than when they arrived. …