As we all know, the pandemic set dementia care back very significantly in most hospitals. Many are now recovering really well, largely due to huge efforts on the part of people who always go above and beyond their designated role.

However, what’s very striking is the disparity between hospitals’ dementia care – not just in terms of recovery from the pandemic, but in their expectations of where we should now be. Whilst some strive to return to the highest of standards – and some are already there – there are a worrying number of others where no start seems to have ever been made. In 2022, I surely shouldn’t be being contacted by people who have come into hospital dementia care leadership roles only to find that their hospital has never even made a start on providing appropriate care – but that’s what’s still happening.

Some still talk about “dementia awareness” – but surely we should now be well beyond that stage? If my mum was still alive, I’d want all staff who met her to be insightful and skilled in their dementia care approach – and why shouldn’t I expect that, so many years after the dementia care movement started?

How can it be that whilst some are achieving the very highest standards, others have the lowest of expectations? I even get desperate carers contacting me to ask which of their local hospitals they should try to access (a situation I try to address diplomatically), but some don’t have a range available and have to take what’s there.

My concern is that whilst the pandemic has – understandably – set things back, we’re emerging from it with a greater range than ever of standards of hospital dementia care. 

If you’re caring for someone living with dementia and they need hospital care, do ask to speak to the person leading dementia care there and ask what support is to be expected. In 2022, everyone should have the right to expect appropriate dementia care when in hospital, regardless of where they happen to live!