Alzheimer’s Society | Fix Dementia Care

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Fix Dementia Care

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Right now 400,000 people living with dementia in England are relying on homecare workers to help them wash, get dressed, eat and take their medication.

But our investigation has shown a complete lack of dementia training for homecare workers. People affected by dementia told us of being left terrified at home in soiled clothes, surviving without hot meals and even missing vital medication.

The homecare system is failing thousands of people with dementia, like Linda’s dad Ken. Good homecare can transform peoples’ quality of life and could mean the difference between staying in your own home and being rushed to a hospital or moved into a care home.

Together we can fix this broken system for homecare workers, people with dementia and their families.

Sign the Alzheimer’s Society Fix Dementia Care petition.

What we are calling for

Our investigation found that 1 in 3 homecare workers have no dementia training and are leaving people in soiled clothes, surviving without hot meals and even missing vital medication.

We know that the majority of homecare workers are doing the best they can. But the sad reality is that they are not getting the specific training that they need to appropriately care for people with dementia and are going into people’s homes without enough knowledge about the condition and how to take care of the person with dementia.

We’re calling on the government to fix a broken homecare system.

Alzheimer’s Society is calling for:
  • Minimum dementia training standards for all homecare workers
  • A dementia training programme for all homecare workers in their boroughs
  • Thorough inspections of the quality and impact of dementia training being provided
  • A dedicated Dementia Lead, who can serve as first point of contact for homecare workers and families
  • Government bodies to find resource to fund dementia training for all homecare workers

If done well, training can mean the difference between staying at your own home and ending up in a care home. Homecare workers that have proper training are able to:

  • Identify changes in condition and behaviour of the person with dementia
  • Reduce the impact of symptoms through quality care
  • Signpost to other sources of support in the community
  • Support family carers to keep going
85% of people would choose to live at home if diagnosed with dementia

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The problem: what our investigation found

But poor homecare, due to lack of dementia training, means for many people this isn’t happening. People told us of shocking examples where loved ones had not been helped to wash in weeks, been left without essential medication or ended up in hospital as homecare workers had missed infections. Our investigation found cases of the person with dementia being treated like a child or being ignored completely and made to feel they were little more than an object.

1 in 3 homecare workers have no dementia training

Right now, there are 400,000 people with dementia receiving care at home. However one in three homecare workers have been given no dementia training at all.

This is not acceptable for people with dementia‘They do not have enough knowledge about the illness to be comfortable to talk to me as a person’*

This is not acceptable for their family carers‘Most were unable to deal with challenging behaviour and as a result left mum soiled and dirty rather than learn how to manage her‘*

This is not acceptable for homecare workers‘I have been assaulted while working because I didn’t understand how to deal with the person with dementia’*

Half of people affected by dementia believe that workers do not understand dementia needs

Imagine not recognising a homecare worker who was trying to shower you. Now imagine how you would feel if that person was unsure of how to calm you and eventually stops trying and leaves you in soiled clothes…

Imagine barricading yourself in your kitchen because you were terrified of the care worker or not being able to communicate if you had eaten already or were still hungry so that you were left to live on biscuits and cold food…

We know that the majority of homecare workers are doing the best they can and care about the people they visit. The sad reality is that they are not getting dementia training that is appropriate and are being sent into people’s homes without enough knowledge about dementia and how to take care of the person with dementia.

86% of Homecare workers believe they would benefit from more training

Homecare workers delivering care in the community need to understand the specific complexities of dementia and be equipped through appropriate training to know how best to respond, just as we would expect NHS professionals providing care for diabetes or cancer to understand the disease.

We know good homecare exists and that it can make a difference in people’s lives. Call on the Government to fix this broken system.

*Quotes taken from our investigation, we surveyed over 1,200 people affected by dementia in Summer/Autumn 2016

Download the fill Fix Dementia Care: Homecare report here.

Sign the Alzheimer’s Society Fix Dementia Care petition.

 

 

Ben Bradshaw questions Minister about issues surrounding dementia

I’m not sure if Ben Bradshaw MP was aware of Exeter City Council had become a member of Exeter Dementia Action Alliance when he asked the following questions in the House of Commons earlier today. But this is what he asked:

Oral Answers to Questions – Communities and Local Government

Topical Questions (28 Nov 2016)

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

Did the Minister see last week’s shocking report from the Alzheimer’s Society showing that only 2% of people affected by dementia feel that their home carers have adequate training in dementia, that only 38% of home care workers have any dementia training at all, and that 71% did not have accredited training, with dreadful consequences for dementia sufferers and their families and carers? Does he accept that until social care is properly funded, this situation will just get worse?

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Marcus Jones)

The right hon. Gentleman raises an important issue. By 2020, we expect all social care providers to provide appropriate training on dementia to all relevant staff. Over 100,000 care workers have already received such training. As I said with regard to the funding of adult social care, we have provided a package that will provide up to £3.5 billion of extra funding during this spending review period.

[Hansard: 28 November 2016: Volume 61 – Column 1241]

Written Answers – Department for Communities and Local Government: Dementia: Home Care Services (28 Nov 2016)

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on the adequacy of the level of dementia training for homecare workers. [asked 22 November 2016]

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Marcus Jones)

By 2020, this government expects social care providers to provide appropriate training on dementia to all relevant staff, and over 100,000 social care workers have already received such training.

Since April 2015, newly appointed health care assistants and social care support workers receive training through the implementation of the Care Certificate.

[Hansard: HC Deb, 28 November 2016, cW]

Please sign the Alzheimer Society’s Fix Dementia Care petition