42pc rise in emergency hospital admissions for dementia patients
PUBLISHED: 07:29 24 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:05 24 January 2020
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The number of emergency hospital admissions for people in Norfolk with dementia has increased by more than 40pc in five years, a new report has found.
In response to the figures a leading dementia charity is calling on more funding to be put into social care.
There were 6,415 emergency hospital admissions of people with dementia across Norfolk during 2017/2018, a 42pc increase on 2012/13 and 7pc higher than the national average, according to the Alzheimer's Society.
Breckland saw the highest increase in admissions, with 74pc more in 2017/2018 compared to five years previously followed by King's Lynn and West Norfolk which saw a 69pc increase.
Great Yarmouth saw the smallest increase of 12pc.
Alzheimer's Society estimates the increase in emergency admissions cost the NHS more than £280m in 2017/2018.
While the ageing population may account for some of the increase, Alzheimer's Society blames much of the rise on a shortage of appropriate care support and specialist care home places.
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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 of pounds for the want of properly funded social care."
Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk, a health a social care watchdog, said: "The figures presented by Alzheimer's Society are symptomatic of some of the wider issues facing care for people with dementia in Norfolk."
Mr Stewart said Healthwatch Norfolk was aware there are not currently enough residential beds for patients with challenging and erratic symptoms in the county but that it did hear many positive reviews of residential care.
"The reasons people with dementia are admitted to emergency departments are varied and complex.
"Additionally, carers of people with dementia across Norfolk have told us of difficulties they face in accessing information and advice around supporting their loved ones.
"The cessation of some NHS-run educational courses and the scarcity of admiral nurses in our region typify this," he said.