The International Longevity Centre is urging health and care professionals to more closely monitor dementia sufferers for common illnesses because hospitals are failing to diagnose and treat them as well as patients without dementia.
In its report, Dementia and Comorbidities: Ensuring parity of care, ILC-UK says that a failure to prevent, diagnose, and treat depression, diabetes and urinary tract infections in people with dementia could be costing the UK’s health and social care system up to nearly £1 billion per year.
The organisation believes care homes have a key role in improving outcomes by modifying the care plans of residents with dementia to include checklists covering the symptoms of common comorbidities (such as UTIs) to help ensure early diagnosis and treatment.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) should consider making it mandatory for care homes to undertake annual check-ups for residents with dementia and diabetes where their blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels and vision are monitored.
Baroness Sally Greengross (pictured above), chief executive of the ILC-UK says it is a scandal that doctors, nurses and healthcare workers are too often failing to see people living with dementia as more than simply this disease. “As such our health system is too often failing to prevent, diagnose, and treat comorbidities among people with dementia. This failure has a devastating impact on quality of life, and results in earlier deaths. A failure to prevent adds avoidable financial pressures to our cash strapped health service,” she adds.