Findings from the National Audit of Dementia Care in General Hospitals

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published a critical report providing the preliminary findings from their National Audit of Dementia Care in General Hospitals.

The findings include:

  • 95% of hospitals do not have mandatory training in dementia awareness for all staff whose work is likely to bring them into contact with patients with dementia
  • About one-third of patients did not have a nutritional assessment recorded during their admission
  • Fewer than one-half of patients received a formal mental status test upon admission to hospital
  • One-third of patients referred to in-hospital psychiatry liaison services had not seen after 96 hours

The aim of the interim report is to provide participating hospitals and their health professionals with a basis for assessing their local performance so that they can improve services ahead of the full audit, which will report in December 2011.

Speaking in response to the publication of the report, Care Service Minister Paul Burstow said:

“There can be no excuses for these shocking findings. The audit is a snap shot of the state of dementia care in our hospitals twelve months ago. It shines a spotlight on poor practicethat demands action from the NHS.

“This Government set out in September where hospitals must take urgent action to improve the care of people with dementia. We underlined the priority we give to dementia yesterday in the NHS Operating Framework for 2011/12.

“We know what good quality dementia care looks like. None of this is rocket science. There needs to be senior staff leadership on dementia in every hospital to make it a reality.

“By failing to focus on the needs of people with dementia too many hospitals are delivering poor quality and costly care. By making sure staff are trained, proper assessments undertaken and timely specialist support on hand hospitals can deliver the compassionate care people with dementia deserve.”