Last week the National Assembly’s Cross Party Group (CPG) on Dementia and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru launched their Inquiry into hospital care for people living with dementia in Wales. In support, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM for Ynys Môn who is a member of the CPG on Dementia and is backing the call for evidence from people in Ynys Môn.
Alzheimer’s Society’s Fix Dementia Care report showed that at least 25% of hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia, and on average, people with dementia in hospital stay more than twice as long as other patients aged over 65.
The Inquiry follows on from the launch of Welsh Government’s Dementia Action Plan earlier this year, which pledged to take action to improve hospital care for people living with dementia, and calls for evidence directly from people affected by dementia in Wales, as well as professionals working in the health and social care sector.
The Inquiry will cover:
• Knowledge and understanding of medical staff
• Admission to hospital
• Discharge from hospital
• Quality of care
Evidence will be used to form as assessment of the effectiveness of the Welsh Government’s recommendations contained within the Plan and whether it is working in practice.
The Cross Party Group, unites its membership, which has representations from political parties across the Assembly, in its focus on gaining understanding of the experiences of people affected by dementia and aims to work collaboratively to make improvements to the care they receive.
Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, said:
“When a person living with dementia is admitted to hospital they are often at their most vulnerable.
“In my role as an Assembly Member I have heard too many stories of people with dementia becoming distressed and receiving poor care whilst in hospital. This Inquiry aims to shine a light on the challenges across Wales, and to make recommendations to the Welsh Government for improvements.”
“If you are living with dementia, or caring for someone with dementia, and have experienced hospital care, then we want to hear from you.”
In a focus group organised by Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, who provide the secretariat support to the CPG, people living with and caring for people with dementia shared some of their experiences:
“It must have been absolutely traumatic for my dad – no understanding, no knowledge, no support. He couldn’t communicate” – Ceri Higgins, carer of a person living with dementia – Pontypridd
“Most of the nurses, especially in the general ward, just don’t have a clue. They’re just not getting the education on how to deal with people with dementia” – France Savarimuthu …. person living with dementia, Newport
“I took the staff nurse aside and explained he has dementia and that it’s in his notes. She hadn’t looked at the notes. She said ‘he doesn’t look like the average dementia patient to me’.” – Helen Savarimuthu, carer of a person living with dementia, Newport
“I’ve got to have a hip done whenever they say. I’m frightened to death of going in” – Lilly Harris, person living with dementia, Bridgend
The charity along with the CPG on Dementia opened the Inquiry today with a survey and would particularly like to hear from:
• People affected by dementia
• Third sector organisations including those representing carers
• Healthcare professionals and professional bodies
• Healthcare and service providers
Sue Phelps, Country Director of Alzheimer’s Society Cymru said; “There are 45,000 people with dementia in Wales.
“We want to hear from people all over Wales so that we can understand the scale of the challenge, and work with the Welsh Government in their implementation of the Action Plan to make sure hospital care for people living with dementia is shining example of excellence.”
To take part in the Inquiry please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, 16 Columbus Walk, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff, CF10 4BY.
You can also answer the questions through our online survey available at alzheimers.org.uk.
If you would prefer to submit your evidence in a different way, for example over the phone, please call Sophie Douglas on 029 2047 5580.