Harrogate dementia charity calls for more staff at care homes

Carers stock. Picture: Esme Allen
Carers stock. Picture: Esme Allen
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More staff with specific dementia awareness training are needed in care homes, according to a charity in the Harrogate district.

Dementia Forward CEO Jill Quinn made the call as two Harrogate care homes were recently given a requiring improvement rating in their Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports.

Both The Pines Care Home and Cornerways residential home were criticised for not having enough staff on duty to ensure that the residents’ care needs, including those with dementia, were met.

The report also said the Pines were at fault for only 30 per cent of the substantive staff team having received dementia awareness training.

Ms Quinn said all staff at care homes should receive dementia awareness training, not just for the residents’ benefit but also for the benefit of the carers.

She said: “If staff don’t have that training the job can be very difficult because it’s such a complicated condition.

“If you do have the right knowledge it can be such a satisfying job but this is a government issue. They should pay more respect to the role.

“Communication is heavily affected in dementia so you have to know the person well. You have to spend more time reading their care plan.

“You have to know everything about that person to recognise if they’re in pain, discomfort or if they’re hungry. It takes a special type of person to do this job.”

Cornerways said they were ‘disappointed’ with the areas that needed improving but stressed 50 per cent of the CQC’s action plan had already been completed.

Cornerways was praised in the report for providing ‘access to suitable and appropriate activities’ which many enjoyed and took part in.

However, the CQC called for more activities and communication at the Pines as this was impacting residents’ ‘emotional wellbeing’.

In the report, the registered manager explained ‘staffing difficulties had affected their ability to provide regular activities’ but they were ‘in the process’ of employing an activities organiser.

Ms Quinn highlighted the importance of activities for people living with dementia and said it was ‘not normal’ for someone to sit doing nothing all day.

She said: “Our focus as a charity is living well with dementia and, at the moment, some people are not able to do this in their day to day lives

“Some people are not getting involved enough with activities or getting enough stimulation. Others are not going out into the community when that is still possible.

“If care homes improved on this, it could actually reduce the amount of other support residents need.”

The Pines did not respond when approached.