misdiagnosis and poor training at root of problem

Tuesday 12th March 2013

The issue of the way people with dementia are treated when they have other illnesses and conditions is one which requires a 'comprehensive, coordinated response across the entire health and care system, according to directors of adult social services.

ADASS President Sarah Pickup said: the issues highlighted in todays CQC report are less about the care and treatment people receive that relates directly to their dementia, and more about how other conditions they might suffer from are diagnosed and treated.

Unnecessary admissions to hospital can be related to:

  • A lack of training in care homes or amongst community teams,
  • A difficulty in accessing community health services, or
  • The difficulty of identifying or diagnosing particular types of condition or pain when someone has dementia and communicating with them is difficult.

Mrs Pickup went on: The findings highlight the need for more and better dementia training among a wide range of staff across health and care services. People with dementia suffer from the same conditions as those without the condition. The person that treats an infection, or deals with a toothache, or treats a hip fracture, needs to understand how to do this when the patient has dementia.

The condition being treated may be the same as someone without dementia but a different approach may well be needed, she said.

She urged social and health care commissioners and providers to work together to address these issues. We hope that organisations right across the health and care sector will sign up to the dementia care and support compact, which set up as part of the Prime Minister's challenge on dementia. And that health and wellbeing boards will consider dementia as a priority for their local health and wellbeing strategies.


For further information contact:
Sarah Pickup, ADASS President, 01992 556300
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Editorial Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors and senior managers of adult social services departments in English local authorities. Directors (DASSs) have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people, adults with disabilities and adults with mental health needs.

In many authorities ADASS members will also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, libraries, culture, and community safety on behalf of their councils. Nearly a third of DASSs are also the statutory director of childrens services for their authority.The Department of Health survey of adult social care 2010/2011 showed that:

* 62% of service users who responded said that they were extremely or very satisfied with the care and support services they receive.

*28% said they were quite satisfied, 7% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and the remaining 3% said they were dissatisfied.

*26% reported their quality of life was so good, it could not be better or very good.

* 31% reported it was good, and

*33% reported it was alright.

* 10% reported their quality of life was either bad, very bad or so bad it could not be worse

See full results here.