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Dementia Patients Suffering From Healthcare Failures

By Principal Lawyer, Court of Protection

The Alzheimer’s Society report on vulnerable sufferers of dementia living in such squalid conditions because of healthcare failures reveals disturbing injustices.

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Research by the charity has revealed the “desperate situation” with many dementia sufferers going without food and medication or being left unbathed or in soiled clothes or bed sheets.

In other instances people were able to walk out of unsecured homes at night, with one pensioner admitted to intensive care after paid carers ignored warnings to dispose of out-of-date food in their fridge.

Around 850,000 adults in Britain have dementia. More than 400,000 dementia patients receive home care but more than one in three carers are unqualified to care for people with dementia.

The report, conducted with Unison, is based on research of 1,200 dementia sufferers and a poll of 700 care home workers – 38 per cent of whom had not received dementia training.  Of the dementia sufferers, relatives and friends who were surveyed, only two per cent felt their care staff were properly trained.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Poor care at home has devastating consequences. People with dementia are not being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

“Care scandals in hospitals and care homes have been well publicised, yet unacceptable home care practices are widespread and happen behind closed doors, hidden from public scrutiny.”

He added: “The enormous population who are dependent on quality home care have been ignored.

“We have an under qualified and under-resourced workforce looking after our most vulnerable people.”

 

Safeguarding Vulnerable Dementia Patients

Based on our work with people dealing with the effects of dementia on a daily basis, there is a clear need for understanding of this incredibly difficult condition, the specific care needs it can give rise to and qualified carers able to provide the right support to meet those needs.

As ever, it is important to remember the wellbeing and dignity of the person dealing with dementia.

Sadly not everyone involved with those struggling with the condition and their families appreciates the importance of the Care Act and Mental Capacity Act, two pieces of significant legislation, both accompanied by comprehensive and useful guidance, which can offer genuine protection and help to support and safeguard vulnerable dementia sufferers and ensure they receive appropriate and tailored care and support.

Richard Copson is a principal lawyer in Slater and Gordon’s court of protection team, specialising in mental capacity law, disability rights and human rights law.

For a consultation with a human rights solicitor, call Slater and Gordon Lawyers 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.

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