Can Live-in care help people with dementia reduce unnecessary days in hospital?

Ministers in England have been promising to publish plans on social care reforms since 2017.

The quality of dementia care in hospitals has featured in many newspapers. The Times reported that campaigners have said, “Patients with dementia are staying too long in hospital and receiving ‘disgraceful’ care that worsens their condition.” The Daily Telegraph said that “one in three never go back to their own homes and are discharged to a nursing home instead.”

The news stories are based on a report from the Alzheimer’s Society, which surveyed a large number of carers, nursing staff and nurse/ward managers on the quality of care given to people with dementia.

Many people battle with health conditions every day. It can be a massive challenge for the NHS to provide care for all of them, which is why hospitals are almost always full and without space for critically ill patients.

However, recent studies have suggested that there is a category of patients who spend too long in hospitals, and are liable to be able to go home sooner rather than later. We’ll be looking into this in more detail. 

So, we know that dementia patients can spend quite some time in hospital if they are not careful. It’s typically to make an assessment of the overall health of the patient and to help people understand what help they need.

However, it is estimated by the Alzheimers society that patients with this condition have racked up more than 1,000,000 days in the hospital that were unneeded. Speaking on the subject, Dame Barbara Windsor said that [Me and my husband are] lucky to have amazing support, but my heart goes out to the many, many people who are really struggling to get the care they so desperately need.

What is the Solution? 

So it’s evident that we can’t necessarily rely on the NHS to look after people with dementia.  There are other solutions for people to consider.

Live-in care is a good way for people to live at home and save the NHS over £400 million. Access to care from home is an excellent way to make sure that people can continue to live a healthy life in spite of their condition and try to maintain a routine. You have to realise that the effects of dementia can be made worse when people are taken away from what they know and are comfortable with, and instead must contend with the often scary reality that they are losing their memories and even their ability to do simple tasks.

“Staying safe and well at home is the best solution for people, their families and communities. Live-in homecare has an essential role working with the health service. It can make a real difference to avoiding hospital admission, which is traumatic for anyone, but particularly for people with dementia or advancing frailty.” Said  Bridget Warr CBE.

The pressure is now on Boris Johnson to make sure that he provides the adult care industry with more funding so that people can come out of the hospital and go back home where they will be comfortable. While it may need to go into a care home, later on, the pressure on the NHS goes down.

Trudi Scrivener, Founder of Ashridge Home Care says  “while it is true that people can not hold back the issues that come from Dementia, they can come out of hospital and go back to where they are familiar. It’s possible that their condition will deteriorate slower if they can spend time in a comfortable environment, and spend time with their friends and family. They can be safe and hopefully a lot happier, which is important when dealing with something as frightening as dementia”.

There is a large amount of funding which is critically needed, and we’ll hopefully see it provided soon if Boris Johnson is on the ball enough to make it happen.