Dementia symptoms not recognised in many admitted to hospital


A UCL led study has revealed that hospitals in the UK are only recognising dementia in under two-thirds of people admitted to hospital for a different reason.

The study, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of Alzheimer’s Association, tracked hospital admissions over an eight year period. In 2008 the study found that among those admitted to hospital within their first year of diagnosis only 48.7% had their dementia recognised at the time, rising to 61.5% in 2016. 

Dominic Carter, Senior Policy Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said “Hospital can be a terrifying environment for people with dementia. It’s crucial that on admission staff are looking for signs and symptoms, so anyone affected can get the specialised support they need while they’re in hospital.

“Without the right support symptoms often get worse – from our research, 90% of people said their loved one with dementia became more confused in hospital. It’s a step in the right direction that dementia is being better recognised in hospitals, but it’s not good enough that a third of people with a diagnosis still aren’t being picked up.  

“With 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and an estimated 1 million by 2021, the need for better diagnosis and tailored healthcare support has never been more pressing. We need to ensure that all hospital staff are trained to spot the signs of dementia and feel confident of how to best support someone in their care.”


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