What is this thing called dementia care?

The Watford Observer has me more than slightly baffled:

At least four families of elderly dementia patients in a Rickmansworth care home have been told they must move ten miles down the road – because they no longer fill criteria.

The 4 patients are all in receipt of fully-funded NHS Continuing Healthcare, so their care costs are met entirely by the NHS.  But the PCT has terminated its contract with Care UK, and these residents are being required to move elsewhere.  A few reasons spring to mind: it’s possible that Care UK staff are not able to handle dementia, in which case these residents would presumably have been required to move long ago; or Care UK is wanting an increase in funding from Hertfordshire PCT and that increase is being refused; or the PCT is wanting to return to specialist dementia hospital-type settings.

Chalfont Court is registered with the Care Quality Commission and theoretically is able to provide nursing care and accommodation for 46 older people, of whom 23 may also have dementia.  It looks as though only those residents who are in receipt of fully-funded NHS Continuing Healthcare are being required to move.

“Keith Moullin, joint deputy director of operations for the trust, said the move was part of a plan to provide all continuing dementia healthcare within the NHS, in order to maintain standards.”

I’d be tempted to suggest to Keith Moullin that specialist dementia healthcare is indeed a laudable ambition – and it’s about time dementia received the specialist care it has been crying out for.  However, to move people after years of living in the same care home could be extremely dangerous and damaging to their well-being.  Are you aware of the needs of people with dementia, Mr Moullin?  The one thing they do need is continuity of care, and that includes familiar surroundings, faces, voices and contact.

I’ll be watching this story develop, to see whether it’s the beginning of a trend.

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Filed under care, care homes, Care UK, dementia care, NHS, NHS Continuing Healthcare

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