"A&E staff clueless about dementia"
About: Solihull Hospital Solihull Hospital Solihull B91 2JL
We took my father into the A&E late one evening because he was very unwell and in a great deal of pain. He also has dementia, but it was shocking to find that the staff in A&E were clueless about dementia, what it's symptoms are and how to treat patients with dementia. In response to my father's erratic behaviour, the doctor pulled me to one side to ask angrily "what is going on?"! They knew nothing about dementia at all. After several hours waiting with my father, staff advised us to go home and they would keep my father in whilst they waited for test results relating to his other symptoms.
At 4.30am, we were woken to find that my father had somehow managed to find his own way home. The staff in A&E had allowed him to discharge himself despite us making it very clear that he had dementia and his behaviour was clearly not normal. It is only thanks to a kind taxi driver that my father made it home safely.
When I followed up with staff in A&E the next day to ask why no-one had called us to collect my father, the nurses told us it was normal procedure to let patients discharge themselves regardless. Unbelievable. I really hope Solihull Hospital is starting to train all it's staff on recognising the symptoms of dementia and how to treat dementia patients and that they now have a proper policy in place.
This experience is especially shocking given that the vast majority of people admitted to A&E are elderly - shouldn't medical staff understand the needs of their largest population group?