Dementia Care Given at Welsh Hospitals in Need of a 'Shake-Up' CALLS MADE FOR SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN TREATMENT

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Byline: JANE KIRBY

A "SIGNIFICANT improvement" is needed in the way Welsh hospitals deliver care to people with dementia, according to a new report.

While hospitals say they have policies in place, these are not always followed and simple steps are not taken that could lessen the distress to patients, most of whom are elderly.

The study said the encounter between staff and patients "is mainly task-related and delivered in a largely impersonal manner" while the hospital environment is "often impersonal". Staff do not always greet or talk to patients during care, explaining what they were doing or offering choice. Sometimes they do not respond to patient requests for help.

The National Audit of Dementia, which covers Wales and England, found only 6% of people with dementia had their level of cognitive impairment measured on admission and discharge, while only 43% of casenotes showed patients had a mental status test despite 75% of hospitals saying they had a procedure for it.

Professor Peter Crome, chair of the national audit of dementia steering group, said: "This report provides further concrete evidence that the care of patients with dementia in hospital is in need of a radical shake-up.

"We have a provided a number of recommendations that, if implemented, will enable patients and their families to have confidence in their hospital treatment.

"It is good to see several hospitals have responded with programmes of quality improvement. …