The report – which follows inspections at 129 care homes and 20 hospitals across England – says that variation in how care is assessed, planned, delivered and monitored puts people living with dementia at risk of experiencing poor care.
In about 29% of care homes and 56% of hospitals inspected, the CQC found assessments were not comprehensive in identifying all of a person’s care needs.
This includes assessments to identify and manage pain, meaning that people with dementia at risk of experiencing pain unnecessarily.
Additionally, in about 34% of care homes and 42% of hospitals, inspectors found aspects of variable or poor care regarding how the care met people’s mental health, emotional and social needs.
Commenting on the findings, Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC, said: “People living with dementia, their families and carers have every right to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion.
“Our review found some great care, delivered by committed, skilled and dedicated staff. But this is not the case everywhere or even within the same service meaning too many people are at risk of poor care. This has got to change.”
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The inconsistency of care found here means many people are rightly worried about being admitted to hospital or having to move into care. Carers have told us that their loved ones have gone for hours without food or water in hospital or that they were in pain but no one realised. Staff can also find communicating with people with dementia extremely challenging and wards and a new care home can be disorientating to navigate.
“However, we know there are many care homes and hospitals that are getting it right by training their staff in person centred care and making their homes and wards more dementia friendly. Developing staff and helping them understand the needs of people with dementia is vital if we are to improve the care people receive.”
New Dementia ‘Ambassadors’ to help GPs and patients
In other dementia news, NHS England has today announced that seven new ‘ambassadors’ are to help local GPs in England to improve diagnosis rates among people with dementia, with the aim of improving patients’ and their carers’ quality of life.
Dr Sunil Gupta, Dr Nick Cartmell, Dr David Findlay, Dr Elizabeth Barrett, Deborah Cohen, Dr Daniel Harwood and Dr Paul Twomey are NHS England’s new network of clinical advisors or ‘ambassadors’, and are experts in dementia care from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Professor Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia in NHS England, said: “We know that only around half of people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis. We believe that timely diagnosis of dementia allows people to access the emotional, practical and financial support that brings.”
Dr Nick Cartmell, a GP in Devon and Clinical Advisor for Dementia in the south, said it was a very exciting role to be taking on: “People with dementia can access better quality care from receiving a diagnosis and as an ambassador I plan to help the GP surgeries in my region to identify more people who have this condition.
“It’s important to give people, both those with dementia and their carers, the opportunity to access all the support now on offer in our communities and to have access to drugs which could improve their quality of life for longer.”