The Scottish government has vowed to improve hospital care for dementia patients by increasing scrutiny, in its first key announcement on older people’s care since the country’s election.
Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said today that hospitals would be inspected to see if they are meeting standards on acute care for older people, while also facing scrutiny from the chief nursing officer on the quality of their dementia care.
The announcement follows a series of damning reports on the quality of hospital care for dementia patients across the UK. The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland found hospitals were treating patients with dementia unlawfully by failing to apply safeguards for those who lack capacity to consent, in a report in March.
Sturgeon today published standards on the care of people with dementia designed to apply all settings, and a skills framework defining the capabilities required of the dementia workforce.
“I consider improving care for older people – whether that means ensuring the implementation of the dementia standards, making sure older people are treated with care and compassion wherever they are and whatever their diagnosis, or better joining up health and social care – to be a personal priority,” said Sturgeon in a speech to Alzheimer Scotland’s dementia awareness week conference.
Health Improvement Scotland will carry out the inspections of hospitals while the chief nursing officer will oversee the implementation of the dementia standards in hospitals.
Alzheimer Scotland welcomed the announcement, which came on the first anniversary of the publication of Scotland’s first dementia strategy.
“These initiatives have the potential to greatly improve the way in which professionals and service providers across the health and social care spectrum understand and treat people with dementia and their families,” said Henry Simmons, the charity’s chief executive. “We must now ensure that this translates into practice and that we start to see immediate improvements in the quality of life for people with dementia and their families, particularly in our acute general hospitals, community and residential care services.”
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