September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, a degenerative brain condition that affects over 50 million people internationally. People’s experiences of dementia are always going to be different, some may not associate violence and aggression with dementia, but unfortunately for a lot of people, this can be a harsh reality. It is important to consider everyone who is affected by a dementia diagnosis; the patient, their family and their care givers.
In the care industry, there is an increasing threat to the safety and well-being of care staff that comes with the crisis inherent with the ageing population of the United Kingdom. Foremost of which is the growing factor of violence in the workplace particularly within dementia care. Aggression and potential violence from individuals with Dementia towards staff and other service users has always been a risk but with an increase in the need for dementia care, higher risk individuals within lower risk environments and potential fears from staff related to allegations of abuse the risk is increasing. Violent and aggressive incidents are the third biggest cause of injuries reported under RIDDOR from the health and social care sector and in a 2013 report, Skills for Care reported that 56% of care staff have been physically assaulted in their job and with predictions from the CQC stating that over the next 30 years, in the over-65s age group, over 75% will require caring needs, the situation is set to get worse.
In a study published by the NCBI it showed that in a 2014 paper about the issue of violence towards carers by dementia patients, that only 38.4% have received the proper suggestions in dealing with the violence, compared to the 70% of care providers having a strategy in place to deal with such a problem. Currently, staff members who deal with caring for dementia patients are left feeling restricted, unconfident and helpless and are not receiving adequate training in ways to reduce and de-escalate dementia related violent outbursts. Many needing these skills to feel confidence and competence in performing pro-active and responsive defensive tactics to protect themselves, the service user and others in the environment. It is clear, therefore that with the predicted rise in healthcare needs, a coherent strategy of training is going to have to be provided to all care givers to promote the safety of both staff and service users.
This is the first of a 4 part blog series during World Alzheimer’s Month. Check back next week for part 2.
If you require training in dealing with violence & aggression in dementia care, please visit our managing challenging behaviour or positive behavioural support courses. We also offer a Dementia Awareness course.