Emergency admissions for Welwyn Hatfield dementia patients up by nearly 50 per cent

PUBLISHED: 17:20 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:25 22 January 2020

In 2017/18, 820 people from Welwyn Hatfield with dementia had to see emergency services. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

In 2017/18, 820 people from Welwyn Hatfield with dementia had to see emergency services. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

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New data published by the Alzheimer’s Society reveals the ‘strain’ of people with dementia unnecessarily ending up in hospitals – which the charity blames on under-funding in the social care system.

Emergency admissions of people with dementia in Welwyn Hatfield increased by 49 per cent - the largest in Hertfordshire - in five years, from 2012/13 to 2017/18, while Hertsmere has had a 14 per cent increase in the same period according to the charity.

Alzheimer's Society's chief executive Jeremy Hughes said 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 have avoidable emergencies like falls, dehydration and infections because of scarce, inadequate and costly social care.

The charity says it hears every day, through its Fix Dementia Care campaign, about the human cost of the underfunded social care system - from an 82-year-old rushed to hospital in a critical condition, barely conscious and hallucinating because carers failed to notice or treat an infection, to a woman whose husband spent two thirds of a year in hospital due to multiple infections and falls, unable to return home because they were provided with no care assessment or care support.

Dementia currently costs the UK £34.7 billion a year and is set to rise to £94.1 billion a year by 2040.

The charity hopes £8bn per year will be allocated in the Government's spring budget and there will be cross-party talks soon on how to fix social care, which was promised before the General Election.

Mr Hughes said: "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 of pounds for the want of properly funded social care.

"The estimated 850,000 people with dementia and their families across the UK heard the Prime Minister's promise to fix social care. They expect action."

To hear more about the Alzheimer's Society Fix Dementia Care campaign, go to alzheimers.org.uk/fix.

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