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Charity calls for an end to unlawful dementia care

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​Alzheimer Scotland has called for changes to dementia care procedures after a report revealed a series of failings in the current system

Alzheimer Scotland has called on NHS boards to react quickly to a damming report into the care of Scotland’s 86,000 dementia patients.

The Mental Welfare Commission’s Dignity and Respect report criticised NHS Scotland for huge variations in the standard of care of patients across the country.

Failing to follow the proper procedures is unlawful as well as a potential breach of human rights and must cease now

“Alzheimer Scotland is deeply disappointed by the extent of the problems, particularly with regards to ongoing issues with medication, access to specifically-skilled staff and the suitability of care environments,” a spokesperson for the charity said.

The commission visited 52 NHS units and reviewed the care of 336 people before completing its report. It found that a quarter of people whose dementia made them unable to consent to treatment did not have an legally required accompanying treatment plan in place.

Among a list of 20 recommendations for improvements, it called for three month reviews for people receiving psychotropic medication, which can affect mood and behaviour.

“We understand that doctors must be able to prescribe the drugs they think are appropriate,” Alzheimer Scotland added. “However, what we do not understand and seriously object to is that the proper lawful procedures are not being followed, as highlighted in this report.

“Failing to follow the proper procedures is unlawful as well as a potential breach of human rights and must cease now.”

The commission also called for people with dementia to be given more outdoor access after it found only half had been outside in the last month, despite inspections being carried out in summer.

It added better staff training procedures need to be put in place. Just under a third of units had undertaken no dementia specific training in the previous 18 months.

 

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