Dementia emergencies on the rise across Nottinghamshire

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Emergency admissions for people with dementia in Nottinghamshire have gone up by more than 59% in five years.

New data published by Alzheimer’s Society reveals the strain on the NHS of people with dementia unnecessarily ending up in hospitals, which the charity blames on the collapsing social care system.

There were 8,735 emergency admissions of people with dementia in Nottinghamshire in 2017/18, an increase of 59% in just five years, and higher than the national average of just over 35%.

Across England, the latest statistics show there were 379,000 emergency admissions, up by almost 100,000 over the same period.

The number of people with dementia who end up stranded in hospital for up to a year after an emergency admission in England also rose 6% from 2012/13, with 40,000 people with dementia stuck longer than a month in 2017/18. 

The rising figures mean more than half of all people with a dementia diagnosis in England went through emergency admission to hospital in 2017/18.

Alzheimer’s Society also estimates that the total spend for the NHS of the increase in emergency admissions of people with dementia in 2017/18 was over £280 million. Additionally, the 40,000 people spending between a month and a year stranded in hospital in 2017/18 cost the NHS more than £165m.

While the ageing population may be accountable for some of the increase, Alzheimer’s Society blames much of the rise on the scarcity of appropriate care support, and the paucity of care home places able to provide specialist dementia care.

Alzheimer’s Society’s chief executive Jeremy Hughes warned that this is “the stark reality of  many people with dementia left to fall through the cracks in our broken social care system”, as people with dementia fall prey to avoidable emergencies like falls, dehydration and infections because of scarce, inadequate and costly social care.

He said: “People with dementia are all too often being dumped in hospital and left there for long stays. Many are only admitted because there’s no social care support to keep them safe at home. They are commonly spending more than twice as long in hospital as needed, confused and scared. This costs the NHS millions of pounds.”