MORE than half the people in Dorset who have dementia are being admitted to A&E, shock new figures show.

The county has an estimated 8,256 people aged over 65 with the condition, which can cause them to become fearful and confused and accidentally harm themselves.

But, says the county's independent health champion, Healthwatch Dorset: "More than 5,386 people over the age of 65 and living with dementia in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset county were admitted to A&E from 2017-2018."

Healthwatch Dorset Manager, Louise Bate, said: “It’s alarming to see so many of these people being admitted to A&E. Is this because they have nowhere else to go or that specialist dementia care is simply not available?"

Now the watchdog has launched an exercise to find out why so many people are ending up in the county's A&Es.

It's 'What would you do?' campaign will encourage people in the county to share their views about what changes to local NHS services should look like.

“Our role at Healthwatch is to ensure we gather views both good and bad from members of the public and then pass these on to the decision-making bodies who plan, pay for and run these services in Dorset," said Ms Bate. "It’s important that people have a say in how their local health and care service is run, so they can help shape it for the better.”

James Sanger, 89, from Poole looked after his wife Phil for seven years after she was diagnosed with vascular dementia. She died last May after her condition deteriorated. He said he received first class help from his local surgery but noted others in the county didn’t receive the same level of care.

“After Phil was diagnosed with dementia at Lilliput Surgery, the very next day nurses came to visit us and we got all the support we needed," he said. "I have nothing negative to say about the health care we received, we had magnificent support from the surgery particularly from the district nurses. But if you happen to live in an area in Dorset where the surgery doesn’t support you so well, things can be very different.

"Speaking to other carers, I was shocked and amazed at the lack of support they were getting. I think the surgeries were not communicating with them and people were not aware of the facilities and support available to them. I would like to see as part of the NHS Long Term Plan better communication to dementia patients and their families on the help and support available to them.”

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