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December 6, 2011

Dementia Sufferers' Complaints Ignored as Nursing Homes Struggle to Provide Care (AUSTRALIA)

Dementia sufferers' complaints ignored as nursing homes struggle to provide care
by: Daniel Knowles 
December 06, 2011

DEMENTIA sufferers' complaints are being routinely ignored in Queensland nursing homes as management struggles to provide the care residents need.
Nurses and carers have told The Courier-Mail resident complaints go unanswered as home management write the complaints off as simply a result of their illness.
Other residents and family members have complained of heavy-handed treatment at homes, including calling the police to remove patients and carers who raise concerns.
"Complaints got residents nowhere if they had mild dementia or no regular visits from family," one care assistant wrote to The Courier-Mail detailing her time on nursing homes. "They were just dismissed as not knowing what they're talking about.
"I saw them humiliated and intimidated, spoken about offensively as if they weren't even in the room.
"I saw harsh treatment of people who cannot fend for themselves."
In its submission to the Productivity Commission's aged-care report, Alzheimer's Australia, which lobbies on behalf of all dementia sufferers and their carers, said dementia was one of the most common reasons for entering a nursing home.
"Dementia can no longer be considered an issue affecting a small population of older adults in aged care but must be seen as part of the core business of aged-care provision," it says.
"Dementia-specific services should not simply be a way of locking away difficult individuals from other residents.
"For the vast majority of residents with dementia there is no need to separate them from individuals who do not have cognitive impairment in dementia specific care.
"Facilities should be designed according to dementia-friendly principles and the quality of dementia care in mainstream facilities should be improved."
A Courier-Mail investigation recently found dozens of nursing homes had failed to meet basic government care standards.
Failures included bungled fire safety evacuations, residents forced to share prescription drugs, frail and elderly residents soiling their beds because there was no help, and homes where staff and volunteers had not passed police checks.
Chronic wounds were being left untreated, and residents were at risk of malnutrition and dehydration, audits by the Aged Care and Accreditation Agency say.


SOURCE:      The Courier Mail, Australia
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