A report by the Alzheimer’s Society has found a lack of training means many people with dementia are receiving poor quality homecare

Only 2% of people with dementia believe homecare workers have enough dementia training. That’s what a damning report by the Alzheimer’s Society found this week.

The charity claim poor quality homecare is too easily hidden behind closed doors, with the survey reporting that people with dementia were spending the day in soiled clothing, going without food or water, and leading to costly hospital or care homes admissions.

The report is part of their Fix Dementia Care campaign, and they’re urging the public to sign a petition asking the government to provide funding for training to ensure the care workforce have the skills needed to provide adequate dementia care.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said:

‘Care scandals in hospitals and care homes have been well-publicised, yet unacceptable homecare practices are widespread and happen behind closed doors, hidden from public scrutiny.

‘There is simply not enough money invested in the social care system. Homecare workers are crying out for more dementia training – without it their hands are tied behind their backs. From the scandals we have exposed, it is clear they are not fairly or adequately equipped with the skills they need to support vulnerable people with complex needs. We need the Government to support empowered and well-trained homecare workers who can transform dementia care in this country, allowing people to live independently and in their own homes for longer.’

The charity used data from a survey of Unison homecare workers, a Freedom of Information request and a survey of 1220 people affected by dementia to gather first-hand testimonies about homecare.

Frustratingly, homecare workers often request additional training for dementia care, but in 54% of cases, it’s turned down. In fact, 86% of homecare workers agreed that further dementia training would help them to provide better care for people with dementia. In fact, 71% of local authorities do not include an allocation for training within their contracts for homecare.

Linda Jackson, 63, from Orpington in Kent, struggled to get good quality homecare for her dad Ken, who had Alzheimer’s disease, when he needed it. Linda said:

‘Dad was challenging at times and I was told that some carers refused to come back and care for him. They simply didn’t know how to cope with his behaviour. He was distressed and worried, yet no one seemed equipped to look after him and give him the basic things he needed – food, medication, and comfort.

‘Without a homecare worker with adequate training dad struggled to make sense of his life. He needed someone who understood him and the way he was acting – to speak to him and calm him down. Often I felt like my dad was seen as a nuisance. I was frequently phoned to be told he had been rude to carers, wouldn’t take his medication, and refused to let them in – but we were offered no solution. Dad’s last year was a living hell and he was eventually sectioned under the Mental Health Act before dying six weeks later. No one’s life should be this way – homecare workers need training to help prevent people like my dad reaching crisis point.’

Other issues that were highlighted through the report included:

- Not being given a bath or shower for weeks and being left in dirty clothes for days
- Left to sleep in wet or soiled bed sheets
- Being spoken down to, asked confusing questions or not being spoken to at all
- Failure to secure homes properly, which leads to the person with dementia wandering and getting lost
- Not being given medication

What have been your experiences of homecare? Let us know in the comments box below.

Source: alzheimers.org.uk