MPs criticise poorly trained dementia care staff


Most of the social care workforce has a “very limited” knowledge of dementia, according to a “deeply disturbing” new report by a committee of MPs and peers.
The Prepared to Care report by the all-party parliamentary group on dementia concludes that the workforce is “not ready” to provide high quality personalised care to people with dementia.
And it says the proportion of staff receiving dementia training is low, even among those working in specialist dementia services.
The group found that a third of care homes with specialist dementia provision have no specific dementia training for staff, and that staff who specialise in dementia have an “inappropriately low” status, with a lack of career opportunities and poor pay.
It also criticised councils that failed to pay higher fees for high quality services.
Most of the witnesses who gave evidence said they believed dementia awareness training should be compulsory for all social care staff.
Jeremy Wright MP, chairman of the parliamentary group, said the findings were “deeply disturbing”, and it was “truly remarkable that those who work in care settings receive so little training in dementia care and that the training which is available is of such variable quality”.
The report called on the Department of Health to prioritise work on producing an “informed and effective” workforce, as promised in the government’s dementia strategy earlier this year.
It also called for improved joint working between health and social care services and better regulation of services and training.
The report followed a previous inquiry by the group which found that poor training of staff was a contributing factor to the inappropriate prescription of antipsychotic drugs to people with dementia in care homes.
Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Social care staff must be given the right support and training and the Department of Health must show leadership to deliver workforce development commitments in the national dementia strategy.”
Phil Hope, the care services minister, said: “The strategy details clear aims to improve the quality of care for people with dementia as well as objectives to ensure staff are well informed and have the best possible skills to help them to work with people with dementia.
“Improving training is essential, so we are working with training providers to raise the standard of both basic skills and the process of continuous professional and vocational development.”

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