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Medway Maritime Hospital acts after audit finds dementia patients are not receiving best care

By Amy Nickalls

People with dementia in Medway are not receiving the best possible care in hospital, according to a new report.

An audit carried out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found Medway Maritime Hospital to be in the bottom 40% of hospitals in the seven areas of assessment.

Hospitals were asked to complete a checklist, provide case notes and questionnaires from carers and staff.

Stock picture. Pic: Think Stock
Stock picture. Pic: Think Stock

The results were collected and marked on nutrition, assessment and discharge planning.

They were also rated by both carers and staff on communication and patient care.

Medway Maritime Hospital scored below the national average for six of the seven areas assessed.

The biggest disparity was between the carer rating of communication which, at 46.3%, was 17.7 % below the national average.

Nationally, nutrition is the worst area, with just 48% of staff believing their hospital meets the needs of dementia patients. Medway achieved 67.5%.

The hospital said changes had already been made to address the issues.

Medway Maritime Hospital
Medway Maritime Hospital

Karen Rule, director of nursing said: “We seek at all times to provide the best of care so we were disappointed that the results for the audit fell short of the standard of care we aim to provide.

“Since the audit took place between April and November 2016, we have implemented a number of initiatives and changes which have addressed the issues raised.

“Although we know we still have more to do, we are already seeing a positive impact on the standard of care that our dementia patients and their carers receive thanks to the work that we have done, and continue to do.”

Some of the initiatives taken up by the hospital include giving the staff specialist training in the understanding of dementia to help with patient care.

Lorraine Brown
Lorraine Brown

They are called Butterfly Champions. Lorraine Brown was diagnosed with dementia three years ago when she was just 61 years old.

She has been working with the hospital to train staff in how to care for patients with dementia.

Ms Brown told the Messenger: “Fortunately I have never been an inpatient but I know there is so much more work to be done.

“Everyone needs to be more aware of how to treat people with the condition, from the porters to the consultants.

“They might know the academic side of things but they don’t always know what it’s like to live with dementia in a hospital setting.”

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