Scotland to launch first national dementia strategy

The Scottish government is to produce the nation’s first dementia strategy after a damning report on the plight of people with the condition living in care homes.

In a report last week, Scotland’s Care Commission and Mental Welfare Commission found widespread evidence of the use of antipsychotic drugs – the so-called “chemical cosh” – to control residents’ behaviour.

The regulators also found about half of people never went out of their care home and another quarter rarely went out.

Urgent meeting

Following the report, the Scottish government arranged an urgent meeting of sector leaders for today. It has also announced that it will produce the country’s first dementia strategy before the end of the year following a consultation over the summer.

Ahead of today’s meeting public health minister Shona Robinson said: “The report published last week cast doubt on the standard of care, especially in some care homes, and raised worrying issues about how the national care standards are applied in practice.

“I have called this meeting to discuss all the issues as a matter of urgency and to ensure care for older people is based on individual needs.”

Care home staff criticised

Susan Brimelow, the Care Commission’s director of healthcare regulation, said many care home staff “didn’t know how to manage people with dementia, particularly with challenging behaviour”.

She added that the Care Commission had taken “quite a hard line” by issuing 76 legal requirements for homes inspected for the report.

Regulators would use enforcement orders if the homes failed to follow the legal requirements, she added.

Up to 67,000 people in Scotland have dementia and about 40% of them are in care homes or hospitals.

England’s first dementia strategy was published in February.

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