Some hospital wards are noisy, cluttered and confusing for people with dementia, and scored low in a report by the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)

Many hospitals are failing to provide dementia-friendly facilities and environments, including signs, hand rails, and a preventing noise and clutter on the wards, which can be detrimental for the health and wellbeing of those with dementia.

In the first report of its kind, the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), which is the NHS statistical body, rated hospitals out of 100 on how well they were set up to care for patients with dementia.

Up to a quarter of patients in hospital have dementia, and many can become extremely distressed in unfamiliar surroundings. Simple steps such as putting up signs so people with dementia can orientate themselves, handrails so they can support themselves and prevent falls, and suitable flooring and seating were just some of the areas that were assessed.

The assessment teams visited more than 4500 wards, 2200 outpatient departments and 350 emergency and minor injury units. The worst hospital scored just 42 out of 100, and the best hospital got 98, but the average was around 74 points, which is still relatively low, and demonstrates that there’s still a long way to go to make hospitals suitable for the increasing amounts of patients coming through their doors who have dementia.

‘It is vital that dementia friendly facilities, such as clear signage and handrails, are in place consistently across the country so that people with the condition can be cared for appropriately,’ says George McNamara from the Alzheimer’s Society.

‘New environments can be very frightening and disorientating for people with dementia. Through the Dementia Friendly Hospitals project we aim to give people and their families the confidence that they are receiving the best possible care.’

Top five hospital trusts
South London and Maudsley – 98.4 points
South West Yorkshire Partnership – 98.2 points
Leeds Community Healthcare – 96.7 points
King Edwards VII Hospital, Central London – 96.5 points
Foscote Court Trust, Banbury, Oxfordshire – 96.3 points

Bottom five hospital trusts
Hull and East Yorkshire – 49.6 points
Homerton University Hospital, London – 49.3 points
Kingston Hospital, Surrey – 47.9 points
County Durham and Darlington – 47.9 points
Yeovil District Hospital – 42.3 points

For more information on coping with a hospital stay when you have dementia, click here.