Parliamentary report calls for dementia care training
Training in dementia care should be offered to all staff working with older people in the health, social care and voluntary sectors, in line with NICE recommendations, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia has said.
The call comes as the Group publishes its hard hitting report 'The £20 billion question', which looks at dementia care against the current backdrop of NHS and social care budget restraints, and a rapidly ageing population.
There are approximately 750,000 people living with dementia in the UK in 2011 and this is set to increase to over a million by 2021. The financial cost of dementia in the UK is currently £20 billion each year, but by 2018 dementia will cost the UK £27 billion a year.
The report warns that in light of this increase in dementia cases, the level of training in dementia amongst health and social care staff is inadequate, despite opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of dementia care.
The Group calls for the implementation of the recommendation within the NICE dementia guideline - that all staff working with older people in the health, social care and voluntary sectors have access to training in dementia care that is consistent with their roles and responsibilities.
NICE states that trainers should consider a number of issues when developing educational programmes. This includes knowing the early signs and symptoms suggestive of dementia and its major subtypes, the impact of the condition on the person with dementia and carers, family and social network, and the roles of staff and agencies involved in care and basic advice on how they should work together.
Health and social care staff should also be trained to anticipate behaviour that challenges and how to manage violence, aggression and extreme agitation, including de-escalation techniques and methods of physical restraint, says NICE.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists pointed out, in evidence submitted to the report, that despite the growing number of people with dementia being admitted to general hospital wards, basic dementia awareness training was mandatory for staff in less than five per cent of hospital sites.
This results in a situation where “staff in general hospital units frequently do not have training in the management of people with dementia and see the problems presented as either overwhelming or not requiring their care”.
Other healthcare professionals who were interviewed for the report said that improving the training of all staff working with people with dementia would improve the quality of care provided and also enable staff to provide support in a more efficient and productive manner.
Many carers pointed out that poor-quality care, provided by untrained and unsupported care staff, was not a good use of limited resources.
Investing in training and developing staff would help to improve outcomes for people with dementia and carers, as well as ensuring better value for money when purchasing care services.
The report concluded that on the subject of training, staff would be much better placed to make a difference to the well-being of people with dementia if they are well-supported and have the attitude and skills necessary to provide good care to people with dementia.
12 July 2011