Dementia patients locked in alone at night: report

Patients suffering from dementia are routinely locked in without supervision at night at six of ten care homes in Sweden, a new inspection report from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has shown.

Dementia patients locked in alone at night: report

The board has conducted spot checks at 94 care homes for patients suffering from dementia across Sweden and concluded that “signs of failings in dementia care have become more numerous”.

The subsequent report, published on Thursday, shows that 61 percent of the inspected homes had patients who were locked and unsupervised during shorter or longer periods of the night.

“If the door to a home is locked then staff have to be able, within a few minutes, to notice if an individual wants to get out and get in contact. Otherwise the lock-in is illegal,” Per-Anders Sunesson at the board said in a statement.

“It is an illegal restraint against the occupant,” Sunesson said.

The inspection report also shows that a quarter of dementia care homes do not bring in extra staff at times of heavy workload. Staff at 40 percent of the homes stated that they experience that staff levels are too low to be able to provide sufficient care and attention.

“It is shocking that such a large proportion of Sweden’s dementia patients are not provided with proper security and safety. This is a group that requires a lot of care and proximity to staff round the clock,” Per-Anders Sunesson said.

Sunesson meanwhile reserved praise for staff employed at Sweden’s dementia care homes.

“The staff which we have met perform a fantastic job considering the conditions under which they work.”

The board will now follow up the inspection report by sending a written decision to all the municipalities and responsible authorities for the inspected homes, with demands for measures to address the deficiencies.

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