The number of people with dementia being admitted to hospital as a medical emergency has risen by 100,000 in five years, according to figures acquired by Alzheimer’s Society.
The data was taken from NHS England’s Hospital Episode Statistics dataset, a database containing details for all admissions, A&E attendances and outpatient appointments at NHS hospitals in England.
The charity said that 379,004 people with dementia were admitted to hospital in 2o17/2018, more than half the number of people diagnosed with dementia that year and 100,000 more than those admitted in 2012/2013.
And estimates that the total spend for the NHS on the increase in emergency admissions of people with dementia in 2017/18 was over £280 million. Additionally, the 40,000 people spending between a month and a year stranded in hospital in 2017/18 cost the NHS over £165 million.
A spokesman for Alzheimer’s Society said the ‘shocking results’ reveal the strain on the NHS as a result of people with dementia unnecessarily ending up in hospitals where they are left for long periods of time, confused and scared.
And while the ageing population may be accountable for some of the increase, Alzheimer’s Society blames much of the rise on the scarcity of appropriate care support, and the paucity of care home places able to provide specialist dementia care.
The charity’s chief executive, Jeremy Hughes, warned that this is ‘the stark reality of many people with dementia left to fall through the cracks in our broken social care system’, as people with dementia fall prey to avoidable emergencies like falls, dehydration and infections because of scarce, inadequate and costly social care.
‘People with dementia are all too often being dumped in hospital and left there for long stays. Many are only admitted because there’s no social care support to keep them safe at home.
‘They are commonly spending more than twice as long in hospital as needed, confused and scared. This costs the NHS £millions for the want of properly funded social care.
‘850,000 people with dementia and their families across the UK heard the Prime Minister’s promise to fix social care. They expect action.’
‘The system is not working and these figures reveal how it is letting down people with dementia and putting our hospitals under unnecessary and intolerable strain. Nearly every health leader we have surveyed says the social care crisis is harming patient care.
‘The NHS and social care are sister services – when one does not work, the other suffers.
‘Unless something is done now it can only get worse. The government has promised reform but unless we find an answer soon, backed up by long-term funding, this tragedy will go blighting the lives of affecting hundreds of thousands of people with dementia and their families.’
‘We know that hospital visits can be distressing for people with dementia which is why there should be high-quality care in the community.
‘We have given councils an extra £1.5bn next year for children and adult’s social care and are determined to find a long-term solution so that every person is treated with dignity and offered the security they deserve.’
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