NHS Accident & Emergency – recognising the needs of people with dementia
Posted 16 December, 2008
The Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Alzheimer’s disease has launched a report on the need for action to support people with dementia in NHS accident and emergency (A&E). The report is based on a survey of Scottish Health Boards conducted by the Cross Party Group.
The report found that there was no standard system for the care of people with dementia attending NHS A&E. This is compounded by a lack of knowledge about the disease which is hampering appropriate treatment being given for the illness or accident that brought the person into A&E.
The report recommends:
- an urgent, physical and psychological assessment for all older people with apparent confusion in A&E to be undertaken in order to assist with diagnosis and where possible identify whether the person may have dementia.
- all staff in A&E trained in how to care for people with dementia once identified.
- a “flag” system to raise awareness of the need for care as the patient moves through the system and meets dozens of new faces.
- health and social services to work together to prevent admission in the first place e.g. implementation of measures for fall prevention, and to manage care in the community which should include rapid access to diagnostic testing and consultant services if necessary.
- environmental and staff attitude changes to reduce unnecessary medication and interventions to people with dementia in general hospitals. A dementia trained nurse attached to every hospital would facilitate this.
- doing everything possible to reduce the multiples moves and interactions with staff that are so distressing and harmful to people with dementia.
Cross Party Group on Alzheimer’s disease (Link to Scottish Parliament website)