A lack of social care support to keep people safe at home has contributed to a sharp rise of people with dementia being admitted to hospital via A&E units, Alzheimer’s Society has warned.
There were 379,000 cases of people living with dementia being admitted to hospital as emergencies in 2017/18, up by 100,000, or 35% on 2012/13, new data from the charity shows.
Moreover, the number of people living with dementia stranded in hospital for a year or more rose by 6% on 2012, with 40,000 stuck in a hospital bed for over a month in 2017/18.
Alzheimer’s Society said more than half of people living with dementia in England went through emergency admissions in 2017/18, many of them multiple times.
It is estimated that the additional admissions cost the NHS more than £280m in 2017/18, with those spending between a month and a year in hospital, costing over £165m, alone.
The charity blamed the rise in admissions to a lack of social care support in the community.
Jeremy Hughes, Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive 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 for the want of properly funded social care.”
“850,000 people with dementia and their families across the UK heard the Prime Minister’s promise to fix social care. They expect action.”
Alzheimer’s Society is demanding an extra £8bn per year in the spring budget and for immediate cross-party talks on the provision of free universal care.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We know that hospital visits can be distressing for people with dementia which is why there should be high-quality care in the community.
“We have given councils an extra £1.5bn next year for children and adult’s social care and are determined to find a long-term solution so that every person is treated with dignity and offered the security they deserve.”