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CQC: Care home dementia care 'lacking'

Dementia patients are experiencing poor care as they move between care homes and hospitals, a major review has revealed.  

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected 129 care homes and 20 hospitals across the country to look at:

 - How people's care needs were assessed.

 - The manner in which care was planned and delivered.

 - The way providers worked together.

 - In what way the quality of care was monitored.

The review discovered that assessments were not comprehensive in identifying whether all of a patient's care needs were met in 29% of care homes and 56% of hospitals.

The way that people's mental health, emotional and social needs were met was variable or poor in 34% of care homes and 42% of hospitals. 

The report suggests that the variation in how dementia care is assessed, planned, delivered and monitored is putting people at risk of experiencing low-quality care.

It also discovered that when people were admitted to hospital there was over-emphasis on people's physical needs.

Additionally, poor sharing of information was found between healthcare professionals and a lack of understanding and knowledge of dementia care.

In light of the results the CQC has committed to:

 - Appointing a new national specialist adviser for dementia care.

- Training inspectors to understand good dementia care in order to make judgment of performance more consistent.

- Including a separate section in their reports to show how well dementia care in hospitals is doing.

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said: “There can be no excuse, and no hiding place, for poor care within our NHS - we are focusing on improving the lives of dementia patients and their families as never before. That's why we've trained thousands of NHS staff to recognise the signs of dementia and invested in dementia friendly care homes and hospital wards.  

“The CQC play a vital role in improving care through their tough new inspections and it's vital that they continue to shine a light on any poor practice so that we can drive up standards throughout the country.”

Chief inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe believes there is “a wealth of guidance” that exists in order for excellent care to be delivered.

She said: “Our new approach to the regulation and inspection of health and social care means that we can celebrate good care, identify where improvements are needed and take action where necessary so that people living with dementia, their families and carers can always be confident about the care they receive.”

The review indicates a need to support both physical and mental needs of patients, as well as managing the known risks such as falls and urinary tract infections, in order to reduce hospital admissions.

Chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Jeremy Hughes said: “There can be no excuse, and no hiding place, for poor care within our NHS - we are focusing on improving the lives of dementia patients and their families as never before. That's why we've trained thousands of NHS staff to recognise the signs of dementia and invested in dementia friendly care homes and hospital wards. 

“The CQC play a vital role in improving care through their tough new inspections and it's vital that they continue to shine a light on any poor practice so that we can drive up standards throughout the country.”