HOSPITAL bosses have pledged to improve the quality of care for dementia sufferers.
The local hospital trust admitted almost 40,000 patients aged 65 and over last year, of whom 2,000 had dementia.
Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH, said: “Improving the quality of care for patients with dementia will have a significant impact on how we deliver services in the future.
“Last year, we admitted 2,000 patients aged 65 and over, around five per cent of the total, who had a recorded diagnosis of dementia.
“However, recent audit work indicates that this underestimates the actual prevalence of dementia by about 50 per cent and indeed estimates from the Alzheimer’s Society note that the rate may even be as high as 25 per cent.
“As part of a Sussex-wide initiative we shall be working to improve the quality of care for patients with dementia across health and social care, placing particular emphasis on engaging with patients and their carers on how services should be developed.
“Work is already underway on this important work with the local branch of the Alzheimer’s Society.
“We must ensure that we get it right for all our patients all of the time, in every ward, in every care setting, for every patient every day.
“This includes demonstrating good quality individualised care by undertaking risk assessments and good record keeping – all essential to the provision of safe and effective care.”
Mr Grayson said the trust was aiming to make sure dementia patients were not stuck in hospital longer than they should be.
He said: “The longer patients with dementia stay in hospital in unfamiliar surroundings, the worse the effect on their symptoms of dementia. Because of this it is more likely their eventual discharge will not be to their own home.”