Report calls for holistic approach to dementia

A focused inspection study of care homes that support people living with dementia found that more than half of the 145 services surveyed were meeting at least five of the six Standards of Care for Dementia*.

The results of the Care Inspectorate study have been published in a report called My life, my care home.

Although there have been positive changes since the publication of the Remember I’m still Me research in 2009, the report concludes that more work needs to be done to take a holistic and person-centred approach to people living with dementia. The focus should not only ensure a good quality of care but also provide meaning and opportunities for growth.

The study, which took place from June 2016 to March 2017, showed there was “inconsistent and variable” support for a person and their family when they are diagnosed with dementia.

The report found that 55 per cent of care homes had provision for organised activities each day, but 10 percent offered no such provision. In the majority of homes, inspectors found that only some of the people were supported to keep connected to their community in a meaningful way, and in 45 percent of services staffing levels frequently prevented people from accessing the community at least once a week.

Commenting on the report, Heather Edwards, Allied Health Professional Consultant with the Care Inspectorate, said: “The Care Inspectorate recognises the value of the Promoting Excellence framework for all health and social services staff working with people with dementia, their families and carers.

However, this framework still needs to be fully understood and implemented in care homes.”

Heather was “extremely encouraged” to see that the majority of services no longer look to medication as the first response to stress and distress in a person living with dementia. She said this is a positive move and a key indicator that staff are looking more into the complexity of what it means to live with dementia. However, the report highlighted that more work needed to be done to promote continence rather than a focus on managing incontinence.

She said: “We can see that the key ingredients of quality care and support are often present. However, something appears to be lost in how these components come together. For example, we found that many care homes are now collecting rich personal details about the person they are supporting, including life storybooks full of great family photos. However, we did not always find that this information is being used to make a positive difference in the lives of those who are being supported.”

To read the full report, visit www.careinspectorate.com and also The Hub website’s Spotlight on Dementia.

* Part of the Scottish Government’s National Dementia Strategy