Over 90 per cent of Japan hospitals have difficulty treating dementia patients

Over 90 per cent of Japan hospitals have difficulty treating dementia patients

More than 90 per cent of emergency hospitals nationwide have found it difficult to treat ill or injured dementia patients, a recent study has found.

When facing such difficulties, 20 to 30 per cent often physically restrain dementia patients or calm them down with medicine, according to a study led by the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology.

Questionnaires were sent to 3,697 emergency hospitals in October and November last year. Of 593 respondents, 94 per cent said they have found it difficult to treat those with dementia mainly because they "could slip or fall."

Other reasons cited by these institutions include "hardships in communication" with these patients and "difficulty in getting cooperation from them in checkups and treatment."

Asked about how these hospitals deal with dementia patients in difficult situations - for example, when they rise from the bed while nurses cannot keep an eye on them - 30 per cent of the respondents said they frequently "restrain them physically," while 20 per cent often "calm them down with chemical substances."

Moreover, 80 per cent said they did not have manuals on how to treat these patients.

The research also covered the family members of dementia patients, of whom 468 responded. Of them, 33 per cent said their relatives with dementia "had some problems visiting doctors." Some respondents said their relatives were refused medical treatment or were hospitalized because they had dementia.

"Not only doctors specialising in dementia, but other doctors are also urged to have a deeper understanding of the disease," said Akinori Takeda, chief of the centre's Regional Medical Liaison Department, who led the study.

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