Shock dementia findings are not a surprise, says charity

PUBLISHED: 08:45 31 March 2013

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DEMENTIA care in North Somerset is not good enough, according to health inspectors.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) undertook a nationwide review last year and dementia patients in North Somerset were found to have a significantly increased chance of being admitted to hospital than non-sufferers.

Nationally, dementia pat- ients in 78 of the 151 local NHS areas were found to be more likely to be admitted to hospital from their care homes, than people without the condition.

A spokesman for disability charity Vitalise said it was a ‘terrible indictment’ of the UK’s care system.

Latest figures from the Alzheimer’s Society in February 2012 showed that North Somerset could have as many as 3,300 dementia sufferers, with up to half unaware they have the condition.

The region is in the bottom 15 per cent nationwide in terms of improving its diagnostic rate.

Rob Heal, whose father Brian suffered from the illness and used to live in the specialist Poppyfields care home, said he was ‘angry and upset’ politicians and councillors do not do more to help dementia patients.

Brian Heal died, aged 73, less than a year after moving from Poppyfields in Worle when it was closed by North Somerset Council for financial reasons in 2010, despite thousands of people signing a petition against the decision.

Rob said: “There he had one-on-one care and he always had the specialised care he needed.

“When he moved to another nursing home he had about eight carers. To him they were a load of strangers and he was frightened of them because they kept changing.”

Rob said nine of the 11 residents at Poppyfields died within a year of the home’s closure and he believes that shows how important specialist dementia care is.

The CQC report also said that in a third of dementia admissions, UK hospitals had no medical notes detailing the patient’s condition on arrival.

The Vitalise spokesman said they were shocked, but not surprised by the CQC’s findings.

He said: “One of our own studies showed that six out of 10 carers suffer huge feelings of worry and guilt at the prospect of sending their disabled, frail or elderly loved ones into residential care even for just a few days’ respite, and that the issue of quality of care is the cause of their fears.

“Sadly, carers’ fears are quite justified and it’s not surprising that many family carers would rather struggle on at home, risking their own health in the process, than entrust their loved one to residential or respite care.

“They simply have no confidence in the care system.”

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