Dementia patients missing out on key services

People with dementia in care homes are getting a second-class service from the NHS, according to the Alzheimer's Society.

The NHS is providing a ‘second class service’ to people living with dementia in care homes, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

The charity is calling on the government to act by making district and community nursing better available to help the 280,000 people with dementia who live in care homes in England.

The charity’s survey of 286 care home managers, undertaken in partnership with Care England, revealed that people with dementia are not getting timely access to vital care, such as mental health services, continence advice and physiotherapy.

The report is part of the charity’s Fix Dementia Care campaign.

Dementia expert and nurse June Andrews said: ‘It is right that people living in care homes should have equal access to NHS community nursing and other NHS services.  

‘NHS acute hospital nurses say they recognise patterns between individual homes, where some only call for help when it's really needed, and others are much less resilient. Care home liaison nurses make a huge difference where they exist.’

Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: 'Over the past five years, the number of senior district nurses has fallen by 30% and the number of community matrons by 16%. It is vital that there are enough nurses, like those working in continence and mental health services, who can support those people with dementia at their most vulnerable. At the moment, many people with dementia in care homes are bearing the brunt of the shortage.’

The Alzheimer's Society's Fix Dementia Care campaign is calling for urgent action from the government to improve the availability of district and community nursing in care homes.

To read the report click here