Hospital Dr News

Under-funded social care sees 1400 people with dementia stranded in hospital at Xmas

A lack of available care homes and home care due to under-funding will see at least 1,400 people with dementia spending Christmas Day in hospital, despite being fit enough to go home.

Those with dementia are being delayed in hospital up to 10 times as long as those without the condition, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, which analysed data from NHS hospital-led audits.

The charity has discovered people with dementia spent 500,000 extra days in hospital in 2016 – at a cost to the NHS of over £170 million, despite being well enough to go home.

This figure of 1,400 could be much higher as little data is gathered on dementia care in hospitals and some people with dementia go undiagnosed.

The Alzheimer’s Society worked with six hospital trusts across England to run audits on the proportion of people experiencing delayed transfers of care (DTOC) who had dementia – as this data is not collected at a national level.

On average, 25% of those experiencing DTOC had dementia.

It also conducted a survey of nurses in collaboration with the Royal College of Nursing and found one in 10 nurses surveyed witnessed people with dementia waiting in hospital for over a year.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “With such scarce social care funding, wards are being turned into waiting rooms, and safety is being jeopardised.

“From the woman who spent two months on a bed in a corridor because there were no available care homes, to the man who died after months of waiting left him debilitated by hospital-acquired infections, people with dementia are repeatedly falling victim to a system that cannot meet their needs.

“One million people will have dementia by 2021, yet local authorities’ social care budgets are woefully inadequate, and no new money has been promised in the budget to cope with increasing demand.”

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