Scottish government acts after ‘deeply shocking’ dementia care report


The Scottish government has announced it is to draw up a national dementia strategy, following a “deeply shocking” report by regulators into standards in care homes.
The Care Commission and the Mental Welfare Commission visited 30 care homes across Scotland and found some of them had fallen “seriously short of best practice”.
With more than half of residents whose care was examined in detail, inspectors told staff their care was “not good enough”.
The Scottish government said it would accept all of the report’s recommendations, and announced plans for a national dementia strategy.
Shona Robison, the public health minister, said the findings were “deeply shocking” and added: “This report highlights serious shortcomings which must – and will – be addressed quickly.”
The report found that about half the residents never left their care home, and fewer than one in four had an adequate record of their life history, while residents’ money was not being used to improve their quality of life.
The inspections also revealed an “excessive use of drugs to control behaviour”, a lack of regular medication reviews, and a failure to understand financial responsibilities.
The report, based on the series of unannounced visits, found three-quarters of residents being given psychoactive drugs used for behaviour problems, depression or insomnia, and “evidence of inappropriate and multiple prescribing”. And laws on medical treatment for people who lack capacity were “not being obeyed”.
None of the 30 homes had a system for recording medication to a high enough standard, according to the report, Remember, I’m Still Me.
There was also evidence that some GPs were prescribing drugs without seeing their patients.
In all, across the 30 homes, the Care Commission made 78 requirements and 235 recommendations for improvement, with most homes being given between one and four requirements.
Every care home in Scotland will be sent a copy of the report, which includes ten key messages.
The two regulators will now lobby the Scottish government to use the report to influence its dementia strategy.
They will also recommend the government improves systems to monitor prescriptions, and encourages councils, the NHS and the private sector to work together to improve care.
The Mental Welfare Commission will give information to every care home on managing money, and how to care for people who cannot make their own care and treatment decisions.
The charity Alzheimer Scotland welcomed the report and the government’s announcement of a national dementia strategy.
Henry Simmons, chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “The study reported that only a small percentage of people with dementia have any freedom of movement or access to positive activities. This is as great a detriment to their quality of life as inappropriate medication or inadequately trained staff.
“These problems should not be tolerated and cannot be allowed to continue.”