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Hospital Staff in UK Lack Skills to Deal With Dementia Patients

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on December 16, 2011 at 8:34 PM
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 Hospital Staff in UK Lack Skills to Deal With Dementia Patients

NHS funded National Audit for Dementia found that most of the hospital staff do not have the skills to cope with challenging dementia patients, who too often receive impersonal care and suffer from boredom.

The survey found that several hospitals failed to undertake dementia friendly steps to lessen the distress and confusion which dementia sufferers often feel on being somewhere so unfamiliar, like making signs large and easy to read, using color schemes to help patients find their way around unfamiliar wards. Patients are denied basic attention from being given basic help to eat to having no personal items or pictures of loved ones nearby to reassure them when they get disorientated. Several confused and vulnerable sufferers are plied with dangerous anti-psychotic drugs because staff are inadequately trained to deal with them.

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The findings emerged from questionnaires filled in by 2,211 staff in 145 wards of 55 hospitals across England and Wales and 105 observations of care of dementia patients. 2/3 staff members said they had not received enough training to provide proper care, 50% said they had not been trained how to communicate properly with such patients, while 54% had not been told how to handle challenging or aggressive behavior.

Chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Jeremy Hughes said, "This shocking report proves once again that we urgently need a radical shake-up of hospital care. Given that people with dementia occupy a quarter of hospital beds and that many leave in worse health than when they were admitted, it is unacceptable that training in dementia care is not the norm."
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Chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dr. Peter Carter said, "It was extremely worrying that two-thirds of staff felt under-trained to provide skilled, knowledgeable care to people with dementia. There is an urgent need to improve the experience of people with dementia who are cared for in general hospitals, for example by employing enough staff and ensuring they have both the right skills and time to care."

Source: Medindia
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