Care homes failing dementia sufferers - charity warns
Published on 26 February 2013 11:30 AM
A charity has warned that many care homes need to improve after research showed less than half of residents with dementia have a good quality of life.
The Alzheimer's Society report stressed that while there are examples of excellent care, less than half of the record 322,000 people with dementia in care homes across Britain are happy and content.
A spokesman said more than 1,000 relatives and carers were questioned about their loved ones, with only 41% saying they had a good standard of living and 28% describing it as poor.
The charity highlighted the importance of making these residents more comfortable as the report also revealed higher-than-expected numbers of people with dementia or severe memory problems are living in the country's care homes.
Results showed that 80% of people living in care homes have conditions like this, which is up from the previous figure of 62%.
Low expectations of care homes
The Alzheimer's Society suggested that one reason for residents having a poor quality of life is that society has low expectations of care homes and people are too happy to 'settle for average'.
Meanwhile, a separate poll of 2,000 Britons showed that two thirds believe more needs to be done to tackle abuse in care homes, with many saying they would be 'scared' if they had to move into one in the future.
The charity said that ministers should collaborate with the care sector to increase minimum standards of care and work to increase public understanding about the quality of care provided.
Places 'full of warmth, activities and interaction'
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said that excellent care homes are places 'full of warmth, activities and interaction'.
He explained that somewhere between reports of the best care homes like this and the worst, it is often forgotten that too many people with dementia are being forced to live a life that is 'only OK'.
Mr Hughes added: 'Society has such low expectations of care homes that people are settling for average. Throughout our lives we demand the best for ourselves and our children. Why do we expect less for our parents?'
He would like to see the Government work closely with care homes to increase expectations and make people aware they have the 'right to demand the best'.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt stressed that no one should feel that either they or their loved ones have no alternative but to settle for poor quality care.
'Whilst many providers are delivering good quality care, this research clearly shows how more needs to be done to improve care across the board. There are no excuses for failing to keep people safe from abuse or not treating them with kindness, dignity and respect,' he added.
Copyright Press Association 2013