Homecare is broken,
will you help us fix it?

Call on the Government to fix a broken system for the thousands of people living with dementia in England who rely on homecare.

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Call on the government to fix homecare for people with dementia

   
  

Fix Dementia Care

Right now 400,000 people living with dementia in England are relying on homecare workers to help them wash, get dressed, eat and take their medication.

But our investigation has shown a complete lack of dementia training for homecare workers. People affected by dementia told us of being left terrified at home in soiled clothes, surviving without hot meals and even missing vital medication.

The homecare system is failing thousands of people with dementia, like Linda’s dad Ken. Good homecare can transform peoples’ quality of life and could mean the difference between staying in your own home and being rushed to a hospital or moved into a care home.

Together we can fix this broken system for homecare workers, people with dementia and their families.

Gran could have stayed at home for longer if things had been different

“My Gran, Jane, used to look after me when my Mum went to work, so I used to get to spend all of my days with her. She was given a diagnosis of dementia in the summer of 2011.

Our family decided to arrange for homecare workers to visit her twice a day but quickly it became obvious that they were not able to provide the support required.

We repeatedly asked them to remove out of date food from the fridge, but the homecare staff didn’t fully grasp why this was important for someone with dementia and didn’t always do it. Gran would end up eating food that had gone off and getting sick.

One day, a homecare worker found my Gran face down on the bedroom floor, barely conscious. The out-of-date food that was left in the fridge had caused regular diarrhoea and with infrequent washing, had resulted in a urinary tract infection.

Gran shouldn’t have got as bad as she did. If the homecare had been provided to the level of quality we had hoped, she wouldn’t have got an infection in the first place and wouldn’t have ended up in hospital. I feel my Gran could have stayed at home for longer if things had been different.”

The homecare system failed Charlotte’s Gran, Jane, and fails thousands of others every single day.

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Mum missed her medication and was left in dirty clothes

“My Mum, Marge, was diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2012 and when her needs became too much, I decided she should receive homecare.

But immediately I realised the carers weren’t equipped to support Mum. Despite her condition advancing, the carers would ask her what she needed doing. This meant soiled sheets would go unchanged, Mum would be dressed in dirty clothes and she could end up missing meals. In the 4 months she received homecare, I think she only had a shower twice.

The lack of understanding the homecare workers showed for Mum’s dementia was apparent from day one. This immediately put them on the back foot: they didn’t know how to cope with Mum and they didn’t appreciate Mum often wasn’t able to tell them what she needed. After trying two homecare companies I found the level of training was all the same.”

The homecare system failed Bev and her Mum, Marge, and fails thousands of others every single day.

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What we are calling for

Our investigation found that 1 in 3 homecare workers have no dementia training and are leaving people in soiled clothes, surviving without hot meals and even missing vital medication.

We know that the majority of homecare workers are doing the best they can. But the sad reality is that they are not getting the specific training that they need to appropriately care for people with dementia and are going into people’s homes without enough knowledge about the condition and how to take care of the person with dementia.

We’re calling on the government to fix a broken homecare system.

Alzheimer’s Society is calling for:

  • Minimum dementia training standards for all homecare workers
  • A dementia training programme for all homecare workers in their boroughs
  • Thorough inspections of the quality and impact of dementia training being provided
  • A dedicated Dementia Lead, who can serve as first point of contact for homecare workers and families
  • Government bodies to find resource to fund dementia training for all homecare workers

If done well, training can mean the difference between staying at your own home and ending up in a care home. Homecare workers that have proper training are able to:

  • Identify changes in condition and behaviour of the person with dementia
  • Reduce the impact of symptoms through quality care
  • Signpost to other sources of support in the community
  • Support family carers to keep going

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