Month: May 2016

Dementia patient care criticised


Angela Rippon on her mother’s experience of dementia care

Half of all dementia patients leave hospital in a worse state than when they arrive, it is claimed.

The Alzheimer’s Society says patients with dementia stay far longer than patients being treated for the same illness or injury without dementia.

It wants their stays cut by a week, saying it will save the health service millions of pounds.

The government said it had already asked NHS hospitals to take urgent action on this issue.

The Alzheimer’s Society blames longer stays on a lack of communication, which can exacerbate problems associated with dementia, such as incontinence.

It says there is a need for better clinical leadership, training of nurses to deal with dementia patients and better co-ordination of support services to allow the patient to come out of hospital.


‘Challenging work’

The Alzheimer’s Society questioned 1,300 carers who looked after dementia patients and 1,100 nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Alzheimer’s Scotland said the situation there was not dissimilar.




Ann Reid’s mother, Peggy Belcher, was confused and frightened in hospital

Nurses left sign saying: ‘You are not well, you need to stay in hospital. Just sit there, rest, relax and don’t bang the table’

Ms Reid’s mother did not have reading glasses with her nor could she remember anything for more than two seconds

The main reasons for a hospital stay were falls, broken hips or hip replacements, urine infections, chest infections and strokes.

The average length of a hospital stay is about a week but more than half (57%) of dementia patients with a broken or fractured hip stayed two weeks or more.

For urinary tract infections more than half (53%) stayed two weeks or more.

Nearly half of the carers (47%) said being in hospital had a significantly negative effect on the general physical health of the person with dementia.

And more than half (54%) said being in hospital had made the symptoms of dementia worse.

Most of the nurses (89%) said they found working with people with dementia challenging and 80% said they wanted more access to specialist advice.


The society said most of the hundreds of millions of pounds currently spent on dementia in hospitals could be more effectively invested in workforce development and community services outside the hospital.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is shocking that people with dementia are occupying up to a quarter of hospital beds yet there are scandalous variations in the quality of dementia care in hospital.

Insufficient care placing hundreds of thousands of people with dementia at risk.

A Quarter of a million people with dementia are being let down by care and support that fails to meet their needs an Alzheimer’s Society report found today – Tuesday 25 January 2011.

According to ‘Support. Stay. Save. Care and support of people with dementia in their own homes‘, this substandard care will result in 50,000 people being forced into care homes early. For each avoidable month these people spend in care, the state will face a bill of at least £70 million. Tens of thousands more will be admitted to hospital unnecessarily.

Carers who said the person with dementia was not receiving sufficient care and support (50%) spoke of people being left bedridden, wearing unchanged incontinence pads and malnourished. More than half (52%) of carers were also being put at risk of stress, depression and other serious illnesses because they were being left to struggle unsupported.

There is clear evidence home care staff want to be empowered with additional training and support to help them provide quality dementia care and 72% said they appreciate people with dementia have special needs. However only 10% said they think the care people with dementia living at home receive meets all their needs.

In the current environment of spending cuts, Alzheimer’s Society predicts the situation is set to get much worse. The charity is now calling on commissioners to think long term and invest in dementia services and training to keep more people out of hospitals and care homes and to save the NHS and councils from bankruptcy.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society said:

‘It is an absolute travesty that so many people with dementia are being forced to struggle without the care and support they need. The consequences of this represent an unacceptable human and financial cost.

‘Half a million people with dementia live in the community and many will need help with everyday tasks such as eating meals, washing or going to the toilet. This help not only maintains dignity but prevents serious health issues. While staying at home is not right for everyone we know many people want to remain in the familiar surroundings they are used to with family or loved ones. Only with the right support will this be possible.

A call to action on thE use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia

The right prescription: a call to action on the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia    

The Dementia Action Alliance has launched a call to action on the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia.

The aim of this call to action is that:

All people with dementia who are receiving antipsychotic drugs should receive a clinical review from their doctor to ensure that their care is compliant with current best practice and guidelines and that alternatives to medication have been considered by 31 March 2012.

Antipsychotics are drugs designed to treat conditions like schizophrenia, however they are often inappropriately prescribed to people with dementia as a first response to behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia like distress or agitation.

In some cases the use of antipsychotic drugs is the right treatment option, but it is estimated that around two thirds of the use of antipsychotics in people with dementia is inappropriate. The use of antipsychotic drugs is linked to serious side effects for people with dementia, creating mobility problems, sedation and sometimes death, particularly when used for longer than 12 weeks.

To achieve a reduction in the use of these drugs, eight groups, including people with dementia and carers, GPs, leaders in care homes and pharmacists, are being asked to sign up to commitments outlining how they can play their part in ensuring reviews take place.

To support progress towards achieving this call to action, the Dementia Action Alliance has produced best practice guidance for people with dementia and carers and health and social care professionals on the use of antipsychotics.

For copies of these resources and for more information on antipsychotics, please visit

For information on how to get involved with this call to action, please visit the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement’s website

Tuesday 5th July 2011

No-one should have to pay more than £ 35,000 towards long-term nursing care in their old age, a report into the fundamental restructuring of Britain’s social care said yesterday.

Those with assets of less than £100,000 would not have to contribute towards their care, under proposals by the Commission of Funding on Care and Support, chaired by the economist Andrew Dilnot.

However – the ambitious plans may yet be watered down by the Treasury, who fear the increased costs could hamper efforts to reduce public sector spending or require raising taxes.

Charity demands action on broken care – Exposed by Panorama

Published 23 April 2012

Alzheimer’s Society has today (Monday, 23 April 2012) set out five areas that require urgent reform to end abuse in care homes.


The call comes ahead of shocking footage to be shown on BBC’s Panorama tonight, which shows serious abuse of a vulnerable person with dementia at a care home previously rated excellent by the CQC.


Andrew Chidgey, Director of External Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society said:

‘The case of abuse that happened at Ash Court care home is a disgrace and must never be allowed to happen again. It is absolutely right that the person at the centre of the abuse has been sent to jail. Despite the tremendous work by a large number of care providers and care staff there are still far too many examples of poor practice. It is time for a root and branch reform of how we provide care in this country.


‘Today we are issuing a call for immediate reform. The new dementia champion group on health and care formed last month must work quickly to stamp out abuse.’

The action that is being demanded by the charity is:


The government must respond to the care funding crisis

All care homes should sign up to the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge

Local authorities must set stronger requirements for dementia training and quality

The Care Quality Commission should re-introduce public ratings for homes and enforce greater transparency of performance

The government should investigate strengthening the role of lay inspectors

Andrew Chidgey continued:

‘People with dementia, their carers and families deserve the best care possible. It’s a tragedy that the news today will have made it harder for people with dementia and carers to consider care as a good option when in many cases it can be a positive experience.’

Daily Telegraph – 9th june 2012

An estimated 1.25 million people spend more than 50 hours each week caring for family members who cannot look after themselves.

Others attempt to combine work with caring for their elderly parents while looking after their children and even infant grandchildren.

Charities and campaign groups have warned that informal, unpaid “carers” are often forced to give up their careers and suffer from isolation at home. Their own health can deteriorate as a result.

Experts say state services such as the NHS would face collapse if hospitals had to cope with the individuals who receive informal care from family members at home.

Currently, councils are obliged to assess the needs of carers but there is no requirement to provide services to help them. This is likely to change.

Among schemes that the minister is backing is one encouraging doctors to prescribe short holidays for those who spend much of their time as carers. Social services would provide care and services for the elderly while their relations take a break.

The plans follow a recent report from the Law Commission, which recommended that carers should receive new legal rights to services and improved carers’ assessments.

The rights would apply across the country to end the current “postcode lottery” of support. Financial support is likely to be means-tested.

Under the Law Commission’s plans, which will form the basis of the White Paper, councils would have a duty to consider whether a carer wishes to work, or to undertake education, training or any leisure activity.

Both carers and the disabled people they support would be assessed for their “wellbeing” and councils would have a new duty to provide carers’ services.

Last year, a government commission chaired by Andrew Dilnot, an economist, warned that many more adults would be forced to care for their relations as society grew older in the decades ahead.

Mr Burstow suggested that GPs should consider prescribing support for adults who care for frail relations, and follow the example of a practice in Cambridgeshire that prescribed short breaks for carers. “Rather than just saying ‘take two of these tablets and come back in a fortnight’, they can do things like prescribe a three-day break, or support a carer to take the one they care for out for the day,” he said.

“This sort of social prescribing is a great way of giving a carer a break rather than picking up the pieces once they’ve had a breakdown.

Relatives will have to pay back loans plus interest after elderly die

Fears middle class will suffer most because they have house as main asset

Nearly 25,000 homes were sold last year to pay for care home bills



Ministers will today unveil a ‘pay as you die’ solution to England’s care crisis – allowing pensioners to defer sky-high care home fees until after their deaths.


The elderly will be encouraged to apply for government-backed loans to fund care fees – but their children will still have to find the cash after their loved one has died by selling their parent’s home anyway.


And – on top of this – the relatives will have to pay interest on the loan.


Health Secretary Andrew Lansley hopes the scheme will protect the elderly from the heartache of having to sell their homes during their lifetime.


The loan plan will be laid out only days after the Mail revealed that at least 24,500 homes had to be sold last year to pay for care – up 20 per cent in a decade.


It will be published alongside the long-awaited White Paper on care and support, which ministers describe as the biggest reform to social care since Labour scrubbed the Poor Laws from the statute book in 1948.


But last night charities attacked the White Paper as a missed opportunity – because the crucial question of how the care system should be funded has been postponed until the next Parliament.


Read More

There have been advertisements over recent weeks, on television and online, regarding claiming back care home fees for people who have dementia. Companies offering these schemes encourage people to appeal the outcome of assessments for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.


A solicitor is not needed to make these appeal. Alzheimer’s Society provides free advice to people wishing to appeal NHS Continuing Healthcare cases, contained in the booklet ‘When does the NHS Pay for Care?’. There is also support available both through the Helpline and the NHS Continuing Care Volunteer support group. The group’s Top Ten Tips on appealing NHS Continuing Care Cases are also available online.


NHS continuing healthcare (also known as NHS continuing care and fully funded NHS care) is a package of care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. It is awarded depending on whether a person’s primary need is a health need. It can be provided in a range of… More

Issue 15. November 2012

We met Peggy and her daughter Ann, who are pictured on the front cover. Peggy is 93, has dementia and lives in a nursing home. She is unable to move independently, take part in conversation or understand what is happening around her.

So far she has spent more than £220,000 on her care fees. Peggy’s case is far from unusual.

Too many people lose their whole life savings and everything they have worked for to pay catastrophic care costs. One in ten people have care costs of more than £100,000. Age UK wants this to change, so we are continuing our Care in Crisis campaign calling for urgent, lasting reform of the care system. Introducing a cap on care costs, as recommended by the Dilnot Commission last year, would clearly benefit people like Peggy enormously, and mean that her family could plan effectively for the future.