The National Audit of Dementia has published its findings and it shows that hospitals are not doing enough to assess patients in their care. 210 hospitals were assessed together with 8000 sets of patient’s notes. It appears that these patients are not receiving crucial mental health state assessments. These assessments should assist staff in assessing exactly what the patient’s needs are and this in turn should mean that they receive the correct treatment in a timeous fashion.

Patients who have dementia can become very confused when they are admitted to hospital. There are specific risks to patients who are confused in hospital. Those risks include having a longer admission than planned, suffering from hospital acquired infections, having to be admitted to long term care, and in some case death.

In addition better communication with the patients and their carers is needed to improve the standard of care. The Audit also showed that medical notes need to be clear and detailed in order to improve communications between professionals.

Poor understanding and poor communication can lead to medical mistakes.

Some hospitals were not training new staff about patients with dementia, some did not have guidelines for staff as to how to respond to patients with dementia and others failed to review the services they provided to dementia patients.

The Audit recognised some improvement but campaigners believe there is a long way to go. With an every increasing aged population managing and supporting dementia is something that most medical staff will have to come into contact with.

If you are concerned about a friend or family member who has dementia and may have not had proper care please contact us for legal advice.