Hospital care: better training needed

Staff training in hospitals was one of several themes discussed in a plenary Q&A session in which a panel of experts answered questions put by the audience.  A delegate said that ward staff had been unable to distinguish her grandad’s delirium from his dementia and had left the family members to feed him even though they didn’t know how.

Keith Oliver, who lives with dementia, referred to his own’s wife’s recent spell in hospital and said that it still traumatises her.  “It was the most awful experience, part of the reason being the quality of staff training on her ward.”

Karan Jutlla, who is head of the Centre for Applied & Inclusive Health Research at Wolverhampton University and has a nursing background, said poor training in hospitals made her rethink her career.

“When I went to work for a nursing agency, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  It inspired me to go into education myself.”

Paul Edwards, director of clinical services at Dementia UK, said the Admiral nurse charity put on a free dementia summer school every year and that the high attendance rates showed up how little training there was in the acute sector.

“We’re not talking about high-tech skills, just basic skills such as identifying pain,” Edwards said. “The pre-registration curriculum for nurses is terrible when it comes to dementia and it’s the same in medicine.  We have a job on to make sure that the curriculum is changed for the better.”