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More than a third of home care workers have no dementia training

More than a third of home care workers in England have had no training in dementia care – Alzheimer’s Society.
older person

More than a third of home care workers in England have had no training in dementia care, says the Alzheimers Society.

The extent of poor home care for people with dementia is harrowing, with some being left in dirty clothes for days on end, going without food or water and sleeping on soiled sheets, an Alzheimers Society investigation reveals.

Letting down vulnerable people

The charity says people are being let down by a severe lack of training among home care workers, more than one in three (38%) of whom have no dementia training at all.

The charity says:

  • Infections are going unnoticed
  • People are spending too long in soiled clothing because carers are unable to calm their agitation enough to help them change clothes.
  • Home care workers are refusing to care for individuals with dementia because they feel unprepared and helpless.

More than a third of home care workers in England have had no training in dementia care, says the Alzheimer’s Society.

The extent of poor home care for people with dementia is ‘harrowing’, with some being left in dirty clothes for days on end, going without food or water and sleeping on soiled sheets, an Alzheimer’s Society investigation reveals.

Letting down vulnerable people

The charity says people are being let down by a severe lack of training among home care workers, more than one in three (38%) of whom have no dementia training at all.

The charity says: 

  • Infections are going unnoticed
  • People are spending too long in soiled clothing because carers are unable to calm their agitation enough to help them change clothes.
  • Home care workers are refusing to care for individuals with dementia because they feel unprepared and helpless.

Around 400,000 people in England who have dementia receive care at home, but very few care workers have been trained how to reduce the impact of the condition, the report says.

The Alzheimer’s Society is now calling on every local authority to have a dementia training programme for care workers, with minimum training standards.

Crying out for training

The charity’s chief executive Jeremy Hughes, said: ‘There is simply not enough money invested in the social care system. Home care workers are crying out for more dementia training – without it their hands are tied behind their backs.’

RCN professional lead for care of older people and dementia Dawne Garrett said: ‘It’s unacceptable that so many care workers have not had any training in this area.

‘People with dementia require sophisticated care and this lack of training could mean they do not receive the high level of care they need and deserve.

More important than ever

‘The pressures on the health service make skilled home care workers more vital than ever. Without them, more and more people with dementia will end up in hospital when they would be better cared-for at home.’

A Department of Health spokesperson said more than 100,000 social care workers have received dementia awareness training, and by 2020, it will expect social care providers to give appropriate training on dementia to all relevant staff.

The Alzheimer’s Society report

The report details ‘harrowing examples of poor home care due to a lack of knowledge’.

It is based on a survey of 1,200 people who are affected by dementia, a survey of more than 700 home care workers and Freedom of Information responses from 119 councils in England.

The survey of home care workers, conducted with the union Unison, found that 38% had not received dementia training.

Two fifths had asked for more training to care for people who have dementia but half of these requests had been turned down.

Only 2% of people affected by dementia said they believed home care workers were adequately trained.

The FOI requests revealed that 71% of local authorities do not include an allocation for training in their home care contracts.

The report concludes: ‘People with dementia are not being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.’

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