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Dementia screening for Sussex over 75s
Thousands of elderly patients are to be screened for dementia when admitted to hospital in an emergency.
It will involve screening the approximately 14,000 people aged 75 and over urgently admitted each year to the hospitals.
It is part of a Government drive encouraging all hospital trusts to find ways to check patients for signs of the condition so they can get the appropriate care and treatment.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, says one in four adult general hospital beds is occupied by someone with dementia.
It also says that 40% of people over 75 admitted as an emergency have the condition alongside their other health problems and half of these have not been diagnosed.
In a message to staff, trust interim chief executive Chris Adcock said: “Without the right diagnosis, these patients may not receive care and treatment that is best suited to their needs.
“Admission to our hospital provides an opportunity to identify people with dementia and ensure that some of our most vulnerable patients receive the tailored care and support they need to prevent deterioration whilst in our care, and the help they need after discharge from hospital to remain as well as they can possibly be.”
The screening could potentially save the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds as the earlier people are diagnosed, the sooner they can start getting the treatment they need to slow the progress of the condition.
This in turn can help reduce the risk of them having to be admitted to hospital.
Tom Kelly, the trust’s associate medical director for quality and innovation, said the screenings were also about improving patient care during their hospital stay.
He said: “Most of the people we would see and treat would have mild to moderate symptoms and making some simple changes to meet the patient’s needs can make a lot of difference.”
The trust opened Poynings ward at the Princess Royal last year.
It is a dedicated area for patients who are admitted with a medical problem but also have dementia.
The unit, the first of its kind in the country, has recreated memories from the past to help patients feel more comfortable and help stimulate their brain.
Scrapbooks help stimulate memories and music from the 40s, 50s and 60s is regularly played.
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