Ireland unable to cope with dementia

by Annalisa Lista - 2014.01.28

The Irish National Audit of Dementia Care (INAD) has identified for the first time some gaps in the healthcare system for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In a review of 35 hospitals, the report underlines the need for guidelines and standards to be put in place around dementia. It has been found, for example, that 94% of hospitals (33/35) have no dementia care pathway in place. As well as limited access to specialist services. Secondly, as for the comprehensive assessment of physical, mental health and social need care, it has been found that only 43% of patients have a standardized mental status test. In addition, many hospitals have no access or inadequate access to social workers. What highlights a lack of a comprehensive assessment of mental status to detect depression, delirium and worsening in dementia status. As for social interaction at mealtimes, just 20% of wards can provide enough assistance. As for communication with carers and families, only 30% of hospitals have guidelines asking the carer their wishes to take care of the ill person. And just 6% have clear guidelines about what  information will be shared with them and why. As for the quality of staff, just 6% of hospitals include dementia awareness in their staff induction programmes and just under half had trained adequately doctors and nurses. As for the physical environment, the majority of hospitals do not have environmental cues to help people with dementia orientate themselves, while 74% have no signs to locate the toilets visible from the patient’s bed. These are only some of the key figures highlighting how Ireland can’t cope adequately with dementia-related problems.

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