Dementia Awareness Information

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PAGE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND HAS NOT BEEN COMPLETED OR EDITED

 

 

The Following information is taken from Gov.uk Living well with dementia:
A National Dementia Strategy – see the link below to download a copy
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/living-well-with-dementia-a-national-dementia-strategy
Introduction by Sube Banerjee and Jenny Owen, joint leads of the National Dementia Strategy

We would first like to thank all the people who have worked with us to produce this Strategy. In particular, we must thank the people with dementia and their carers whose testimony has truly shaped this plan. Their courage and perseverance in the face of systems seemingly set up to deny them access to diagnosis, treatment and care rather than to facilitate such access has galvanised us in our work.
This is an ambitious strategy. Our aim is that all people with dementia and their carers should live well with dementia. There is no doubt that the dementias are a devastating set of illnesses and that they have profound negative effects on all those affected, be they people with dementia or their carers. However, it is also clear that there is a vast amount that can be done to improve and maintain quality of life in dementia. Positive input from health and social care services and from the third sector and carers of people with dementia can make all the difference between living well with dementia and having a poor quality of life.

This is a comprehensive strategy which requires us to transcend existing boundaries between health and social care and the third sector, between service providers and people with dementia and their carers. Our vision is for a system where all people with dementia have access to care and support that they would benefit from. As the Strategy is implemented, we look to a time when the public and professionals alike are well informed, and where the fear and stigma associated with dementia have been decreased. It will be a system where families affected by dementia know where to go for help and what services to expect, where the quality of care is high and equal wherever they might live, and where people seek help early for problems with memory and are encouraged to

do so. We have heard clearly that knowledge is power with respect to diagnosis, giving those affected and their families an understanding of what is happening and the ability to make choices themselves. Making the diagnosis early on in the illness means that there is the chance to prevent future problems and crises and to benefit more from positive interventions.
7We have a unique opportunity to make a true difference for those affected by dementia, but achieving our goals will not be simple. Success will require true joint planning and joint working between health and social care commissioners and providers, the third and independent sectors and people with dementia and their carers. It will require flexible and imaginative leadership at all levels along with constant vigilance and scrutiny if the delivery of the strategy is to be kept on track. It will require commitment over time and ambition in the face of the true scale of the challenge. But there has never been a better chance to improve the quality of care for dementia. The successful implementation of the Strategy will improve the quality of lives of all with dementia.
We believe that the objectives presented here, taken as a whole, will generate services that provide people with dementia and their family carers with the help and support they need throughout the course of the illness, enabling them to live lives of the best quality possible – enabling them to live well with dementia.
Professor Sube Banerjee Professor of Mental Health and Ageing, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and Department of Health Senior Professional Adviser in Older People’s Mental Health
Jenny Owen Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, and Executive Director, Adults, Health and Community Wellbeing, Essex County Council
8

Executive summary
The aim of the Strategy
1. The aim of the Strategy is to ensure that significant improvements are made to dementia services across three key areas: improved awareness, earlier diagnosis and intervention, and a higher quality of care. The Strategy identifies 17 key objectives which, when implemented, largely at a local level, should result in significant improvements in the quality of services provided to people with dementia and should promote a greater understanding of the causes and consequences of dementia. This Strategy should be a catalyst for a change in the way that people with dementia are viewed and cared for in England.
The issue
2. Recent reports and research have highlighted the shortcomings in the current provision of dementia services in the UK. Dementia presents a huge challenge to society, both now and increasingly in the future. There are currently 700,000 people in the UK with dementia, of whom approximately 570,000 live in England. Dementia costs the UK economy £17 billion a year and, in the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia in the UK will double to 1.4 million, with the costs trebling to over £50 billion a year.
93. While the numbers and the costs are daunting, the impact on those with the illness and on their families is also profound. Dementia results in a progressive decline in multiple areas of function, including memory, reasoning, communication skills and the skills needed to carry out daily activities. Alongside this decline, individuals may develop behavioural and psychological symptoms such as depression, psychosis, aggression and wandering, which complicate care and can occur at any stage of the illness. Family carers of people with dementia are often old and frail themselves, with high levels of depression and physical illness, and a diminished quality of life. Dementia is a terminal condition but people can live with it for 7–12 years after diagnosis.
The context
4. The size of the population affected by dementia and the pervasiveness of the condition mean that the development of policy and services for people with dementia and their families is also affected by the wider policy context. This currently includes initiatives, guidance and policy statements such as Our NHS, Our Future, Putting People First: A shared vision and commitment to the transformation of adult social care, the current public debate on the future of the care and support system, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) commissioning guide on memory assessment services, the Carers’ Strategy (Carers at the heart of 21st century families and communities) and the National End of Life Care Strategy. Getting services right for people with dementia will make a positive contribution to all of these.
10 The consultation
5. Over 50 stakeholder events were held throughout the country as part of the consultation exercise, attended by over 4,000 individuals, and approximately 600 responses to the consultation document were received. The draft strategy was very well received by the public and professionals alike, and the recommendations it set out were seen as being the right ones if dementia services are to fully meet the needs of people with dementia and their carers. Areas where changes have been made are: provision for people with learning disabilities; the need for better peer support networks; improved end of life care; housing for people with dementia; and the particular needs of people with early-onset dementia (people under 65 years of age). In general, however, the draft strategy recommendations were acknowledged as the right ones and welcomed. A detailed response to the consultation has been published separately.
The Strategy objectives
6. The key objectives of the Strategy, addressed in more detail in the full document, are as follows: • Objective 1: Improving public and professional awareness and understanding of dementia. Public and professional awareness and understanding of dementia to be improved and the stigma associated with it addressed. This should inform individuals of the benefits of timely diagnosis and care, promote the prevention of dementia, and reduce social exclusion and discrimination. It should encourage behaviour change in terms of appropriate help-seeking and help provision. • Objective 2: Good-quality early diagnosis and intervention for all. All people with dementia to have access to a pathway of care that delivers: a rapid and competent specialist assessment; an accurate diagnosis, sensitively communicated to the person with dementia and their carers; and treatment, care and support provided as needed following diagnosis. The system needs to have the capacity to see all new cases of dementia in the area. • Objective 3: Good-quality information for those with diagnosed dementia and their carers. Providing people with dementia and their carers with good-quality information on the illness and on the services available, both at diagnosis and throughout the course of their care. • Objective 4: Enabling easy access to care, support and advice following diagnosis. A dementia adviser to facilitate easy access to appropriate care, support and advice for those diagnosed with dementia and their carers.
11 Objective 5: Development of structured peer support and learning networks. The establishment and maintenance of such networks will provide direct local peer support for people with dementia and their carers. It will also enable people with dementia and their carers to take an active role in the development and prioritisation of local services. • Objective 6: Improved community personal support services. Provision of an appropriate range of services to support people with dementia living at home and their carers. Access to flexible and reliable services, ranging from early intervention to specialist home care services, which are responsive to the personal needs and preferences of each individual and take account of their broader family circumstances. Accessible to people living alone or with carers, and people who pay for their care privately, through personal budgets or through local authorityarranged services. • Objective 7: Implementing the Carers’ Strategy. Family carers are the most important resource available for people with dementia. Active work is needed to ensure that the provisions of the Carers’ Strategy are available for carers of people with dementia. Carers have a right to an assessment of their needs and can be supported through an agreed plan to support the important role they play in the care of the person with dementia. This will include good-quality, personalised breaks. Action should also be taken to strengthen support for children who are in caring roles, ensuring that their particular needs as children are protected. • Objective 8: Improved quality of care for people with dementia in general hospitals. Identifying leadership for dementia in general hospitals, defining the care pathway for dementia there and the commissioning of specialist liaison older people’s mental health teams to work in general hospitals. • Objective 9: Improved intermediate care for people with dementia. Intermediate care which is accessible to people with dementia and which meets their needs. • Objective 10: Considering the potential for housing support, housing-related services and telecare to support people with dementia and their carers. The needs of people with dementia and their carers should be included in the development of housing options, assistive technology and telecare. As evidence emerges, commissioners should consider the provision of options to prolong independent living and delay reliance on more intensive services. • Objective 11: Living well with dementia in care homes. Improved quality of care for people with dementia in care homes by the development of explicit leadership for dementia within care homes, defining the care pathway there, the commissioning of specialist in-reach services from community mental health teams, and through inspection regimes.
12 Objective 12: Improved end of life care for people with dementia. People with dementia and their carers to be involved in planning end of life care which recognises the principles outlined in the Department of Health End of Life Care Strategy. Local work on the End of Life Care Strategy to consider dementia. • Objective 13: An informed and effective workforce for people with dementia. Health and social care staff involved in the care of people who may have dementia to have the necessary skills to provide the best quality of care in the roles and settings where they work. To be achieved by effective basic training and continuous professional and vocational development in dementia. • Objective 14: A joint commissioning strategy for dementia. Local commissioning and planning mechanisms to be established to determine the services needed for people with dementia and their carers, and how best to meet these needs. These commissioning plans should be informed by the World Class Commissioning guidance for dementia developed to support this Strategy and set out in Annex 1. • Objective 15: Improved assessment and regulation of health and care services and of how systems are working for people with dementia and their carers. Inspection regimes for care homes and other services that better assure the quality of dementia care provided. • Objective 16: A clear picture of research evidence and needs. Evidence to be available on the existing research base on dementia in the UK and gaps that need to be filled. • Objective 17: Effective national and regional support for implementation of the Strategy. Appropriate national and regional support to be available to advise and assist local implementation of the Strategy. Good-quality information to be available on the development of dementia services, including information from evaluations and demonstrator sites.
Implementation
7. The implementation plan for the Strategy can be found on the Department’s dementia website at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/dementia. The Strategy’s economic impact assessment (also available on the dementia website) is modelled over five years. However, the pace of implementation will inevitably vary, depending on local circumstances and the level and development of services within each NHS and local authority area. Decisions on funding for subsequent years will only be made once we have had the opportunity to consider the results from the initial demonstrator sites and evaluation work. There is no expectation therefore that all areas will necessarily be able to implement the Strategy within five years.
138. The Department will provide support for all those involved in implementing the strategy locally to ensure its delivery, particularly for those areas where services are less developed. Support will be provided at a national, regional and local level. The regional teams will work with localities within the region to help implement the Strategy. A national team will co-ordinate the programme and oversee production of materials to support implementation, using web-based materials and networks as well as running workshops and conferences.
What will the National Dementia Strategy mean for people with dementia and their carers?
9. Full implementation of the Strategy will mean that all people with dementia and those who care for them would have the best possible healthcare and support. We know that early diagnosis, effective intervention and support from diagnosis through the course of the illness can enable people to live well with dementia. We also know that improving health and social care outcomes in dementia in the short and medium term can have significant benefits for society both now and in the future.
10. Our vision is for the positive transformation of dementia services. It would be a system where all people with dementia have access to the care and support they need. It would be a system where the public and professionals alike are well informed; where the fear and stigma associated with dementia have been allayed; and where the false beliefs that dementia is a normal part of ageing and nothing can be done have been corrected. It would be a system where families affected by dementia know where to go for help, what services to expect, and where the quality of care is high and equal wherever they might live.
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Chapter 1: Purpose and scope of the Strategy
1. The purpose of the Strategy is to: • provide a strategic quality framework within which local services can deliver quality improvements to dementia services and address health inequalities relating to dementia; • provide advice, guidance and support for health and social care commissioners, strategic health authorities (SHAs), local authorities, acute hospital trusts, mental health trusts, primary care trusts (PCTs), independent providers and the third sector, and practice-based commissioners in the planning, development and monitoring of services; and • provide a guide to the content of high-quality health and social care services for dementia to inform the expectations of those affected by dementia and their families.
2. The Strategy does not act as a detailed clinical guideline – the joint National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) guideline1 fulfils that role. The Strategy is designed to be inclusive of dementia of all types in all groups affected. It applies to services in England only.
Defining dementia
3. The term ‘dementia’ is used to describe a syndrome which may be caused by a number of illnesses in which there is progressive decline in multiple areas of function, including decline in memory, reasoning, communication skills and the ability to carry out daily activities. Alongside this decline, individuals may develop behavioural and psychological symptoms such as depression, psychosis, aggression and wandering, which cause problems in themselves, which complicate care, and which can occur at any stage of the illness.
4. The causes of these illnesses are not well understood to date but they all result in structural and chemical changes in the brain leading to the death of brain tissue. The main sub-types of dementia are: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, mixtures of these two pathologies (‘mixed dementia’) and rarer types such as Lewy body dementia,
1 NICE/SCIE (2006). Dementia: Supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care. London: TSO.
15dementia in Parkinson’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia. The term ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ is used sometimes as a shorthand term to cover all forms of dementia.
5. The dementias all share the same devastating impact on those affected and their family carers. Dementias affect all in society irrespective of gender, ethnicity and class. They can affect adults of working age as well as older adults. People with learning disabilities are a group at particular risk. This Strategy is designed to address the needs of all people with dementia, no matter of what type, age, ethnic origin or social status.
The impact of dementia
6. Dementia is one of the most severe and devastating disorders we face. It is also very common. Key data for the UK as a whole include the following:2 • There are approximately 700,000 people with dementia. • In just 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to double to 1.4 million • The national cost of dementia is about £17 billion per year. • In the same 30 years, the cost will treble to over £50 billion per year.3 • Dementia is predominantly a disorder of later life, but there are at least 15,000 people under the age of 65 who have the illness.
2 Knapp M, Prince M, Albanese E et al (2007). Dementia UK: The full report. London: Alzheimer’s Society. 3 Comas-Herrera A, Wittenberg R, Pickard L and Knapp M (2007). ‘Cognitive impairment in older people: future demand for long-term care services and the associated costs’. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22:10, 1037–45.
16 • Its incidence (the number of new cases per year) and prevalence (the number of cases at any one time) rise exponentially with age. • It affects men and women in all social groups. • People from all ethnic groups are affected by dementia. The current number of people with dementia in minority ethnic groups is around 15,000 but this is set to rise sharply. • The level of UK diagnosis and treatment of people with dementia is generally low, with a 24-fold variation in activity between highest and lowest activity by PCT. • International comparisons suggest that the UK is in the bottom third of European performance in terms of diagnosis and treatment, with less than half the activity of France, Sweden, Ireland and Spain.
7. Dementia not only has a devastating impact on those with the disorder, but also has profound, negative effects on family members who provide the majority of care. Family carers are often old and frail themselves and have high levels of carer burden, depression and physical illness, and decreased quality of life. However, caring cuts across the age range and in some cases might be undertaken by children or young people under 18. Dementia is a terminal disorder, but people may live with their dementia for 7–12 years after diagnosis.
8. Contrary to social misconception, there is a very great deal that can be done to help people with dementia.4 Services need to be re-engineered so that dementia is diagnosed early and well and so that people with dementia and their family carers can receive the treatment, care and support following diagnosis that will enable them to live as well as possible with dementia.5 Currently only a third of people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis or have contact with specialist services at any time in their illness. Also, such diagnosis and contact often occur late in the illness and/or in crisis when opportunities for harm prevention and maximisation of quality of life have passed. If dementia is not diagnosed, then the person with dementia and their family carers are denied the possibility of making choices themselves. They are unable to make informed plans for their future and do not have access to the help, support and treatments (social and psychological, as well as pharmacological) which can help.
Developing the National Dementia Strategy
9. This Strategy was developed under the auspices of a Department of Health Programme Board, which has provided the strategic oversight and determined the governance of the whole project. A Department of Health Working Group, led by Jenny Owen and
4 NICE/SCIE (2006). Dementia: Supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care. London: TSO. 5 NAO (2007). Improving services and support for people with dementia. London: TSO. Professor Sube Banerjee, was responsible for writing the consultation document and the strategy. An External Reference Group (ERG) was convened and chaired by Neil Hunt, the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society. Three ERG sub-groups worked on the key themes identified – raising public and professional awareness; early diagnosis and intervention; and improving the quality of care. They generated a comprehensive report on improving dementia care which informed the development of the strategy. The ERG and its sub-groups had a broad inclusive membership and the Department is very grateful for their hard work and excellent input. Full details of the members of the Programme Board, the Working Group and the ERG (including its sub-groups) are given at Annex 3.
10. The development of the Strategy also benefited from two waves of consultation organised jointly by the Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) and the Alzheimer’s Society. The first, completed prior to developing the consultation document, involved a nationwide listening and engagement exercise where more than 3,000 people were able to contribute to and engage with developing the Strategy. The Alzheimer’s Society also ran similar events especially for people with dementia and carers and distributed questionnaires, both through the Society’s branches and online. Feedback from all these sources was reviewed to ensure that all views were captured.
11. In the second phase, between June and September 2008, the Department undertook a formal public consultation exercise on the draft proposals for the Strategy. Approximately 600 written responses were received from individuals, including people with dementia and their carers, and from a wide range of professional and other stakeholder groups. These responses have been analysed and have informed the development of the final strategy. In addition, 53 regional consultation events were held, organised by CSIP and the Alzheimer’s Society with support from the Central Office of Information (COI). Over 4,000 individuals attended these meetings, which covered the whole of England, including rural and urban areas. As with the initial listening events, specific groups were targeted. This ensured that the views of diverse populations were taken into account in the development of the Strategy, including: younger people with dementia; people with learning disabilities; people from minority ethnic groups; people from rural and island communities; and older people in prisons.
12. Representatives from the Strategy Working Group attended most of these meetings. They also took part in other dementia-related conferences and meetings across the country to publicise the consultation and gather feedback. The Department plans to maintain this engagement as the Strategy is implemented. We are very grateful to all who contributed to this work and in particular to the Alzheimer’s Society for ensuring the full involvement of people with dementia and their carers. 13. The Strategy is intended to promote access to services that is the same for everyone with a need. The Department has published an equality impact assessment (EIA) to accompany the Strategy, which assesses whether the Strategy will have any adverse effects on any particular group. It also alerts commissioners and service providers of health and social care of the need to monitor the Strategy’s impact on all groups within society and to make changes to mitigate any inequality. Service providers and commissioners may need to produce their own EIAs to assess the Strategy’s Impact locally.
14. Those involved in developing the Strategy worked closely with other emerging policy initiatives such as the NHS Next Stage Review, the Carers’ Strategy, End of Life Care Strategy and Putting People First. For example, the Next Stage Review local clinical pathway groups and the SHA vision process were informed by the evidence that was collected for the National Dementia Strategy. The objectives of this Strategy are complementary to such programmes of work and delivering the National Dementia Strategy will help to deliver these other goals.
How the Strategy is structured
15. The Strategy is outcome focused. The outcomes are divided into three broad themes and these form the basis for Chapters 3 to 5: • raising awareness and understanding; • early diagnosis and support; and • living well with dementia.
16. Chapters 3 to 5 present objectives that have been identified as priorities for delivery. These objectives and the care pathway set out a vision of what a good dementia service should look like. The objectives are presented here in life course order according to a defined care pathway, rather than in priority order. This helps to make clear temporal relationships and interdependencies. Under each objective is the case for change including key objectives for commissioners to meet. Commissioners can begin by establishing a baseline, to determine where they already have plans and services in place and where they may need to do further work.
17. Chapter 6 discusses drivers and levers for change, again in terms of objectives. The objectives presented are intended to help commissioners to analyse their current commissioned services, to set local goals and to monitor progress in their own areas. Annex 1 contains guidance developed to support the world class commissioning of dementia services. The implementation plan for the Strategy can be found on the Department’s dementia website at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/dementia.
1918. The strategy is accompanied by a full economic impact assessment which can also be found on the Department’s dementia website. The impact assessment is modelled over five years. However, the pace of implementation will inevitably vary, depending on local circumstances and the level and development of services within each NHS and local authority area. Funding for subsequent years will only be made once we have had the opportunity to consider the results from the initial demonstrator sites and evaluation work. There is no expectation therefore that all areas will necessarily be able to implement the Strategy within five years.
19. Annex 2 sets out the wider policy context in which the Strategy is set.

Chapter 2: The vision for services for dementia
1. The Department’s goal is for people with dementia and their family carers to be helped to live well with dementia, no matter what the stage of their illness or where they are in the health and social care system. The vision to achieve this is a simple one, in three parts, to: • encourage help-seeking and help-offering (referral for diagnosis) by changing public and professional attitudes, understanding and behaviour; • make early diagnosis and treatment the rule rather than the exception; and achieve this by locating the responsibility for the diagnosis of mild and moderate dementia in a specifically commissioned part of the system that can, first, make the diagnoses well, second, break those diagnoses sensitively and well to those affected, and third, provide individuals with immediate treatment, care and peer and professional support as needed; and • enable people with dementia and their carers to live well with dementia by the provision of good-quality care for all with dementia from diagnosis to the end of life, in the community, in hospitals and in care homes.
2. The care pathway set out in Figure 1 places the objectives identified as needed within this framework. This is a vision for the future of people with dementia and their carers shared by all – central and local government, the third sector and, most importantly, people with dementia and their family carers.
21Chapter 3: Raising awareness and understanding
‘I used to have a very good memory and suddenly I found that words that I
knew the meaning of I was not able to give their meaning…that told me
something was wrong.’ (person with dementia)
‘I knew my brain wasn’t what it used to be because I’ve always remembered when I gave birth to my girls and one time I thought, “I can’t remember what their birthday is.”’ (person with dementia)
‘I was having difficulty in remembering things that I knew that I knew and beginning to have arguments with the wife as to where she had told me things, asked me to do something or she had done something on my behalf and I’d say, “No you didn’t.”’ (person with dementia)
‘The worst part was telling the kids. One daughter…just doesn’t want to know, the other one is in denial, and my son knows more than I do.’ (person with dementia)
‘My son is looking but he doesn’t know me; my daughter…never mentions it.’ (person with dementia)
‘You don’t get the same empathy that you would get if you were terminally ill.’ (carer)
‘It’s as though that’s it, you are dribbling and nodding, and that’s Alzheimer’s. That’s the picture of Alzheimer’s. But we are all sitting here talking perfectly normally. We have got Alzheimer’s of some form, we are not nodding and dribbling.’ (person with dementia)
‘They always show them [people with dementia] in the worst state.’ (carer)
‘You are just as likely of getting dementia as you are getting a haematoma or lung cancer or whatever else. If there was that sort of attitude by society, then this would make the whole process of actually getting the diagnosis a lot easier. So you know it is all part of the stigma, isn’t it?’ (person with dementia)
‘The more, as you say, it’s talked about, about well known people having it, the better it’s accepted as part of life.’ (carer)
‘More coverage of ordinary people saying what it’s like a) for them to have dementia and b) for their carer/partner to say what it’s like to be caring for them having dementia.’ (person with dementia)
‘[The GP said] when you pass 70 you can expect to lose your memory a little
bit.’ (person with dementia)
‘I consider that I didn’t get a service from, not from the doctor, my own GP.
From my own GP I just got patted on the head.’ (person with dementia)
‘We had an appointment with the local GP anyway, over a different matter,
and while I was there I said, you know, I told him the symptoms and he
pooh-poohed it.’ (person with dementia)
Increased public and professional awareness of dementia
Objective 1: Improving public and professional awareness and understanding of dementia. Public and professional awareness and understanding of dementia to be improved and the stigma associated with it addressed. This should inform individuals of the benefits of timely diagnosis and care, promote the prevention of dementia, and reduce social exclusion and discrimination. It should encourage behaviour change in terms of appropriate help-seeking and help provision.
How this can be delivered • Developing and delivering a general public information campaign. • Inclusion of a strong prevention message that ‘what’s good for your heart is good for your head’. • Specific complementary local campaigns. • Targeted campaigns for other specific groups (eg utilities, public-facing service employees, schools, and cultural and religious organisations).The case for change Help-seeking and help provision
1. Currently, people with dementia and their carers are prevented from accessing diagnosis, and therefore support and treatment, by a counter-productive cycle of stigma and misapprehension, leading to inactivity. There is a generally low level of public and non-specialist professional understanding of dementia. The stigma of dementia creates a background where both the public and non-specialist professionals find it hard to talk about dementia, and seek to avoid addressing the possibility of an individual being affected. The stigma associated with dementia also acts within professional groups, resulting in low priority being accorded to the development of the skills needed to identify and care for people with dementia. Professional and vocational training are of major importance in determining professional knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. These are addressed in detail in Chapter 4.
2. The second part of the cycle is a widespread mis-attribution of symptoms to ‘old age’, resulting in an unwillingness to seek or offer help. The final element is the false view that there is little or nothing that can be done to assist people with dementia and their carers. This again is a view shared by public and professionals alike. These factors are presented in Figure 2 and together they act to delay diagnosis and access to goodquality care.
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Figure 2: Public and professional knowledge and attitudes are a barrier to diagnosis of dementia and the receipt of good-quality care
Stigma of dementia prevents discussion
Inactivity in seeking and offering help
False belief: normal part of ageing
False belief: nothing can be done
3. The effect of these factors acting together is profoundly unproductive and means that: • people currently wait up to three years before reporting symptoms of dementia to their doctor;6 • 70% of carers report being unaware of the symptoms of dementia before diagnosis;7 • 64% of carers report being in denial about their relative having the illness;8 • 58% of carers believe the symptoms to be just part of ageing;9 • only 31% of GPs believe they have received sufficient basic and post-qualification training to diagnose and manage dementia,10 a decrease since the same question was asked in for the Forget Me Not report11 eight years ago;
6 Alzheimer’s Society (2002). Feeling the Pulse. London: Alzheimer’s Society.
7 Eisai Inc/Pfizer (2004). Facing Dementia Survey. London: Eisai Inc and Pfizer.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.
10 NAO (2007). Improving services and support for people with dementia. London: TSO.
11 Audit Commission (2000). Forget Me Not. London: TSO.
26 • 50% of the public believe that there is a stigma attached to dementia;12 and • people over 65 are more worried about developing dementia (39%) than cancer (21%), heart disease (6%) or stroke (12%).13
4. The aim of the raising awareness theme of the strategy is therefore to develop a better understanding of dementia by public and professionals alike; to ensure that better information is provided on how to seek help and what help and treatment is available; and to tackle the stigma and misunderstandings that currently exist.
Positive about prevention in dementia – what’s good for your heart is good for your head
5. As well as helping the large number of people who already have dementia and the predicted growth in this population, we need to look at ways of preventing new cases of dementia occurring if this is at all possible. This element of the strategy therefore also focuses on the prevention of the condition. The current evidence base suggests that up to 50% of dementia cases may have a vascular component (ie vascular dementia or mixed dementia). This holds out the possibility of preventing or minimising dementia by means of promoting better cerebrovascular health.
6. Current health promotion messages on diet and lifestyle and actions such as health checks are therefore likely to have a positive effect. Providing public education that such changes may decrease the likelihood of developing dementia can only help the overall impact of the campaigns overall.
The campaign
7. There has been a clear and consistent message from those who have analysed current dementia care systems in England, and from the strategy consultation process, on the need for a public information campaign to change awareness and understanding about dementia. This includes expert opinion from people with dementia, carers, health and social care professionals14 and the Public Accounts Committee.15 The potential for positive change is supported by data from a pilot awareness campaign by the Alzheimer’s Society carried out in 2007. This achieved positive results with 78% of GPs believing that such a campaign would lead to people reporting symptoms earlier.16
12 Alzheimer’s Society (2008). Dementia: Out of the shadows. London: Alzheimer’s Society.
13 Ibid.
14 NAO (2007). Improving services and support for people with dementia. London: TSO.
15 Public Accounts Committee (2008). Sixth Report of Session 2007–8: Improving services and support for
people with dementia. London: TSO. 16 Alzheimer’s Society (2008).Worried about your memory? London: Alzheimer’s Society.
27• 50% of the public believe that there is a stigma attached to dementia;12 and • people over 65 are more worried about developing dementia (39%) than cancer (21%), heart disease (6%) or stroke (12%).13
4. The aim of the raising awareness theme of the strategy is therefore to develop a better understanding of dementia by public and professionals alike; to ensure that better information is provided on how to seek help and what help and treatment is available; and to tackle the stigma and misunderstandings that currently exist.
Positive about prevention in dementia – what’s good for your heart is good for your head
5. As well as helping the large number of people who already have dementia and the predicted growth in this population, we need to look at ways of preventing new cases of dementia occurring if this is at all possible. This element of the strategy therefore also focuses on the prevention of the condition. The current evidence base suggests that up to 50% of dementia cases may have a vascular component (ie vascular dementia or mixed dementia). This holds out the possibility of preventing or minimising dementia by means of promoting better cerebrovascular health.
6. Current health promotion messages on diet and lifestyle and actions such as health checks are therefore likely to have a positive effect. Providing public education that such changes may decrease the likelihood of developing dementia can only help the overall impact of the campaigns overall.
The campaign
7. There has been a clear and consistent message from those who have analysed current dementia care systems in England, and from the strategy consultation process, on the need for a public information campaign to change awareness and understanding about dementia. This includes expert opinion from people with dementia, carers, health and social care professionals14 and the Public Accounts Committee.15 The potential for positive change is supported by data from a pilot awareness campaign by the Alzheimer’s Society carried out in 2007. This achieved positive results with 78% of GPs believing that such a campaign would lead to people reporting symptoms earlier.16
12 Alzheimer’s Society (2008). Dementia: Out of the shadows. London: Alzheimer’s Society.
13 Ibid.
14 NAO (2007). Improving services and support for people with dementia. London: TSO.
15 Public Accounts Committee (2008). Sixth Report of Session 2007–8: Improving services and support for
people with dementia. London: TSO. 16 Alzheimer’s Society (2008).Worried about your memory? London: Alzheimer’s Society.
278. The nature and size of the issues involved means that such a public information campaign would need a phased approach, developing and continuing over time. The campaign would need to be well planned, incorporating research evidence to build effective campaign messages, and crafted carefully to ensure that it is clear and honest. It should aim to reduce anxiety and promote understanding. In the words of one person with dementia, ‘It must not frighten people with dementia or their carers.’ It should take account of the fact that the needs of some groups (eg those with a learning disability and dementia, younger people with dementia, those from minority ethnic groups, or those from rural, island or traveller communities) may be different from those of the majority population, and may require specifically tailored approaches.
9. The content should inform the public what dementia is, including: its signs and symptoms; what is normal and what is not; that while some abilities are compromised, many remain; and that a person with dementia is no less a person because they have dementia. Messages about how to seek help need to be co-ordinated with the development of services, since there is a need to avoid the problems created if demand is stimulated and the supply of services is not available.
28 8. The nature and size of the issues involved means that such a public information campaign would need a phased approach, developing and continuing over time. The campaign would need to be well planned, incorporating research evidence to build effective campaign messages, and crafted carefully to ensure that it is clear and honest. It should aim to reduce anxiety and promote understanding. In the words of one person with dementia, ‘It must not frighten people with dementia or their carers.’ It should take account of the fact that the needs of some groups (eg those with a learning disability and dementia, younger people with dementia, those from minority ethnic groups, or those from rural, island or traveller communities) may be different from those of the majority population, and may require specifically tailored approaches.
9. The content should inform the public what dementia is, including: its signs and symptoms; what is normal and what is not; that while some abilities are compromised, many remain; and that a person with dementia is no less a person because they have dementia. Messages about how to seek help need to be co-ordinated with the development of services, since there is a need to avoid the problems created if demand is stimulated and the supply of services is not available.
28 could include: a team briefing pack, employee training materials, posters for staff notice boards, media materials for staff magazines and leaflets.
11. Such a campaign could also target the personnel/human resources and occupational health departments of employers so that they are aware of the early signs of dementia and its impact on carers.
12. Finally, making materials available to schools for children and young people to learn about dementia as part of Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship Education could also form an important strand of an effective public information campaignChapter 4: Early diagnosis and support
‘General practitioners after all are exactly that, general practitioners, and so they can’t be expert in everything, but they don’t seem to have a general sensitivity to dementia as an illness.’ (person with dementia)
‘Surely they should be getting more training and then if [they] can’t understand it…pass it on to the neurologist or psychiatrist rather than put you on tranquillisers.’ (person with dementia)
‘We had gone to him [the GP] for a lot of things and he was always telling [the person with dementia] that it was in his mind, he hadn’t got these problems, he needed to pull himself together.’ (carer)
‘I’ve just been told ”You’ve got Alzheimer’s” and they walk out; [it] is absolutely bloody disgusting.’ (person with dementia)
‘I got the diagnosis on the phone by somebody I had never met telling me, “Your husband has Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.” That was probably the worst possible way. That was absolutely infuriating.’ (carer)
‘I think they need [to be] diagnosing much earlier and take notice of it because I think there are lots of channels that could be avoided if the first time they saw you, they got down to business and meant it. Not just fob you off.’ (person with dementia)
‘[The GP] has been very positive in supporting both of us really. When this problem occurred he referred [the person with dementia] straight away to the memory clinic and stuff so he obviously saw something in her that he felt he should deal with straight away. When consultants and people have done tests on her and written to him he has always been in touch with us to let us know what is going on. He is very positive.’ (carer)
‘[The consultant] said it’s dementia and I just burst into tears because I was so… I half expected it but it’s still a terrible shock.’ (carer)
31‘It was as if the thunder clouds had been taken away because they had given an answer to me why I was treating my family so like a louse that I was.’ (person with dementia)
‘I was relieved really that what I was trying to convince people of had been verified.’ (person with dementia)
‘They didn’t give me enough information. I came away thinking, “What do we do now, where do we go from here?” I have a prescription in one hand and a note for blood tests in the other and nobody has said what the CAT scan showed…nobody has given me that information. I am the person who is going to deal with [my husband].’ (carer)
‘It was organised by various people from the Alzheimer’s Society and carers, and they explained to the people what kinds of dementia there were, and what happens, and how you can help it by healthy living and all this; it was really good.’ (carer)
‘Be honest to yourself and to your friends because there is a lot of support if you are open. Some of them will walk away and can’t deal with it but an awful lot of people will help.’ (person with dementia)
‘Today I have met people who are in very much the same boat as I am with things they can and can’t do…so for me it’s a relief, a bloody relief to find that there are other people in the same boat as me.’ (person with dementia)
‘I think I’ve been part of a group that regularly goes together and since I’ve got to know other people and I think of it as being “We’re all in it together”, and therefore I don’t feel lost…and that’s very helpful actually.’ (person with dementia)
32 Good-quality early diagnosis and intervention for all
Objective 2: Good-quality early diagnosis and intervention for all. All people with dementia to have access to a pathway of care that delivers: a rapid and competent specialist assessment; an accurate diagnosis sensitively communicated to the person with dementia and their carers; and treatment, care and support provided as needed following diagnosis. The system needs to have the capacity to see all new cases of dementia in the area.
How this can be delivered • The commissioning of a good-quality service, available locally, for early diagnosis and intervention in dementia, which has the capacity to assess all new cases occurring in that area.
The case for change Under-diagnosis is the current norm
1. Currently only about one-third of people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis at any time in their illness.17 When diagnoses are made, it is often too late for those suffering from the illness to make choices. Further, diagnoses are often made at a time of crisis; a crisis that could potentially have been avoided if diagnosis had been made earlier. A core aim of the National Dementia Strategy is therefore to ensure that effective services for early diagnosis and intervention are available for all on a nationwide basis. There is evidence that such services are cost effective, but will require extra initial local investment to be established. When established, such services can release substantial funds back into health and social care systems.18
2. In its Operating Framework for 2008/9,19 the Department of Health summarised the situation as follows:
“…providing people with dementia and their carers the best life possible is a growing challenge, and is one that is becoming increasingly costly for the
NHS. Research shows that early intervention in cases of dementia is costeffective and can improve quality of life for people with dementia and their families…”
17 NAO (2007). Improving services and support for people with dementia. London: TSO.
18 Ibid.
19 DH (2007). The NHS in England: the Operating Framework for 2008/09. London: DH.
333. The text went on to state that the Department of Health would publish details of the clinical and economic case for investing in services for early identification and intervention in dementia which PCTs should consider when planning local services. This detailed cost-effectiveness analysis for such services was published as Appendix 4 of the Strategy consultation document.20 It is available for download on the Department’s dementia website at http://www.dh.gov.uk/dementia and also in revised form as a peer-reviewed publication.21 This sets out clearly that a ‘spend to save’ approach as advocated by the National Audit Office (NAO) in their value for money report can both increase the quality of care and save hundreds of millions of pounds of expenditure over a 10-year period. These analyses suggest that such services are clinically and cost effective using accepted measures.
The value of early intervention
4. The evidence available also points strongly to the value of early diagnosis and intervention to improve quality of life and to delay or prevent unnecessary admissions into care homes. According to the best estimates available,22 care home placement of people with dementia costs the UK £7 billion per year with two-thirds paid by social services and one-third by older people and their families themselves. While it is clearly the case that some people will need and benefit from admission to care homes, and that this can be a positive choice, there is also a strong quality argument for the prevention of unnecessary institutionalisation. People with dementia generally want to stay in their own homes, as do their carers. The evidence available indicates that: • early provision of support at home can decrease institutionalisation by 22%;23 • even in complex cases, and where the control group is served by a highly skilled mental health team, case management can reduce admission to care homes by 6%;24 • older people’s mental health services can help with behavioural disturbance, hallucinations and depression in dementia, reducing the need for institutional care;25
20 DH (2008). Transforming the Quality of Dementia Care: Consultation on a National Dementia Strategy. London: DH. 21 Banerjee S, Wittenberg R (2008). ‘Clinical and cost effectiveness of services for early diagnosis and intervention in dementia.’ International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (ePub in press). 22 Knapp M, Prince, M, Albanese E et al (2007). Dementia UK: The full report. London: Alzheimer’s Society. 23 Gaugler JE, Kane RL, Kane RA and Newcomer R (2005). ‘Early Community-Based Service Utilization and Its Effects on Institutionalization in Dementia Caregiving’. The Gerontologist, 45, 177–185.
24 Challis D, von Abendorff R, Brown P et al (2002). ‘Care management, dementia care and specialist
mental health services: an evaluation’. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 17:4, 315–25.
25 Gilley DW, Bienias JL, Wilson RS et al (2004). ‘Influence of behavioral symptoms on rates of institutionalization for persons with Alzheimer’s disease’. Psychological Medicine, 34:6, 1129–35. • carer support and counselling at diagnosis can reduce care home placement by 28%;26 • early diagnosis and intervention improves quality of life of people with
dementia;27 and
• early intervention has positive effects on the quality of life of family carers.28
5. All PCTs currently commission a number of services which might make the diagnosis of dementia. They include general practitioners, old age psychiatric community teams, geriatric medicine and neurology services. Current systems are almost without exception non-prescriptive and lack clarity about where and by whom diagnoses of dementia should be made.
Role of primary care
6. A strong and consistent message emerged from DH’s consultation process that the diagnosis of dementia, and in particular mild dementia where the diagnosis is more complex, should be carried out by a clinician with specialist skills. With a disorder as common as dementia it is tempting to assume that this should be completed by primary care. However, this is in effect the status quo which has delivered the low
26 Mittelman MS, Roth DL, Clay OJ and Haley WE (2007). ‘Preserving health of Alzheimer caregivers: impact of a spouse caregiver intervention’. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 15:9, 780–89. 27 Banerjee S, Willis R, Matthews D et al (2007). ‘Improving the quality of care for mild to moderate dementia: an evaluation of the Croydon Memory Service Model’. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22:8, 782–88. 28 Mittelman MS, Roth DL, Clay OJ and Haley WE (2007). ‘Preserving health of Alzheimer caregivers: impact of a spouse caregiver intervention’. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 15:9, 780–89.
35levels of activity that we have summarised above. A review of the evidence confirms that there is a marked reluctance on the part of primary care to be directly involved in the diagnosis of dementia for reasons that include: the belief that nothing can be done for dementia; risk avoidance; concerns about competency; and concerns about the availability of resources.29 This can be particularly problematic for people from specific groups, such as people with learning disabilities or younger people with dementia.
7. The message from those responding to the consultation exercise was that these are reasonable concerns, and that the primary care role should be that of identifying those with worrisome symptoms that might mean that their patient has dementia, excluding any other explanatory disorder, and referring on to a specialist service for that individual to receive a definitive diagnosis, not only of dementia, but also of the sub-type of dementia. This would require that such services are available for the GP to refer to and, in the large majority of the country, this is not currently the case. The focus of old age psychiatric services is on the severe and complex end of the spectrum, leaving early diagnosis and intervention largely unaddressed. Equally, geriatric and neurology services are saturated at present with their current work with those referred to them with dementia and complex physical co-morbidity and younger and atypical presentations respectively. This strategy is not intended in any way to minimise or undermine the role of primary care in the diagnosis and management of people with dementia. It is instead an acknowledgement of complexities that have become apparent in the last 10 years, and is designed to support primary care by generating services that they can use in a clear explicit care pathway. The primary care role following diagnosis can therefore be informed by the clinically important information as to whether or not that person has dementia, and of what sub-type, and treatment modified to take account of that.
The case for commissioning a specific service for early diagnosis and intervention
8. From our consultation, and based on a successful DH pilot30 and the DH costeffectiveness case,31, 32 it appears that new specialist services need to be commissioned to deliver good-quality early diagnosis and intervention. Such services would need to provide a simple single focus for referrals from primary care, and would work locally to stimulate understanding of dementia and referrals to the service. They would provide an inclusive service, working for people of all ages and from all ethnic backgrounds.
29 Iliffe S, Wilcock J, Haworth D (2006). ‘Obstacles to Shared Care for Patients with Dementia: A qualitative study’. Family Practice, 23:3, 353–62. 30 Banerjee S, Willis R, Matthews D et al (2007). ‘Improving the quality of care for mild to moderate dementia: an evaluation of the Croydon Memory Service Model’. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22:8, 782–88. 31 DH (2008). Transforming the Quality of Dementia Care: Consultation on a National Dementia Strategy. London: DH. 32 Banerjee S, Wittenberg R (2008). ‘Clinical and cost effectiveness of services for early diagnosis and intervention in dementia’. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (ePub in press). Their sole focus would be on early diagnosis of and intervention for people with dementia. This would include: • making the diagnosis well; • breaking the diagnosis well to the person with dementia and their family; and • providing directly appropriate treatment, information, care and support after diagnosis.
9. Such services would not replace the work currently completed by old age psychiatry, geriatrics, neurology or primary care, but would be complementary to their work. The aim is to complete work not currently associated with any service. Instead such a service might be provided by any of a number of types of specialist with diagnostic skills in dementia (eg old age psychiatrists, geriatricians, neurologists, or GPs with a specialist interest) or combinations thereof. Local decisions would be based on existing service provision and where local skills and enthusiasm lie. Those referred with needs other than dementia would be referred on appropriately. There is value in considering commissioning such a service as a joint health and social care venture, with core involvement of local third sector organisations. Such services could see people in their own homes, or in primary care settings, rather than be hospital-based. The provision of such services locally would have the effect of simplifying the care pathway for the majority, locating responsibility and so enabling easy referral, simple communication and clear performance monitoring. A core set of assessment tools (eg of cognition, behaviour, activity limitation and quality of life in dementia) could be agreed and specified to enable direct regional and national monitoring and comparison of the services provided. Where there are existing memory clinics that have resources associated with them, they may form the core of such a new service, and those resources could be used as part of this service reconfiguration.
10. Local commissioners will wish to consider the extent to which referral to such services are ‘open’ for the public or rely on referral through primary care or adult social care. There was a genuine divergence of opinion in those responding to the consultation on this. There will be a need to work out how services can be made to work for those from specific groups such as people with learning disabilities. Consistent feedback was received during the consultation process about how difficult it is for this group to receive a diagnosis and appropriate help and support. People with learning disabilities are likely to be in touch already with health and social care services, so close liaison and collaboration between the different professionals involved is essential.
Good-quality information for people with dementia and carers
Objective 3: Good-quality information for those with diagnosed dementia and their carers. Providing people with dementia and their carers with good-quality information on the illness and on the services available both at diagnosis and throughout the course of their care.
How this can be delivered • A review of existing relevant information sets. • The development and distribution of good-quality information sets on dementia and services available, of relevance at diagnosis and throughout the course of care. • Local tailoring of the service information to make clear local service provision.
The case for change
11. The importance of good-quality information, given in such a way as to be accessible to patients and carers in enabling them to direct their own care, is clear. Every person diagnosed with dementia and their carers need to be provided with good-quality, relevant information on the illness and on the availability of local services. The consultation process has provided excellent examples of national and local documents that could be adapted with ease for use across England. One such example is the booklet Coping with dementia – a practical handbook for carers33 published by Health Scotland and currently available to be given out to carers across Scotland on diagnosis. Information could be made easily available in a range of settings, for example in local libraries.
12. The challenge is to generate an individually tailored comprehensive package of highquality information. This should be developed nationally to include information on the nature of the condition, and then adapted locally to describe the treatment and the support available. Different materials might be needed as the disease progresses and to cover the evolution and management of different symptoms and situations. Equally, versions would be needed to work across the diverse populations affected by dementia (eg different language groups, minority ethnic groups, people with learning disabilities and people with early-onset dementia). Information should also be available on what options exist for planning ahead for those diagnosed with dementia, to ensure that their desires and wishes are properly considered were they to lose mental capacity. For example, by making a Lasting Power of Attorney and registering it with the Office of the Public Guardian.
13. For this element of the strategy there will therefore be a need centrally to collect the excellent sets of information that have been generated on dementia to date, rather than starting from scratch. The strategy therefore identifies the need for an initial phase involving the central collection of materials and their collation, and the development of key documents for distribution.
Enabling easy direct access to a contact who can signpost and facilitate health and social care input throughout life with dementia
Objective 4: Enabling easy access to care, support and advice following diagnosis. A dementia adviser to facilitate easy access to appropriate care, support and advice for those diagnosed with dementia and their carers.
How this can be delivered • This is a new role and there will be a need first for the development and generation of demonstrator projects, and the piloting and evaluation of models of service provision prior to implementation. • Following this, commissioning a local dementia adviser service to provide a point of contact for all those with dementia and their carers, who can provide information and advice about dementia, and on an ongoing basis help to signpost them to additional help and support.
33 Health Scotland (2008). Coping with dementia – A practical handbook for carers. Edinburgh: Health Scotland. • Contact with a dementia adviser to be made following diagnosis. • The dementia adviser not to duplicate existing ‘hands-on’ case management or care.
The case for change
14. One of the most clear and consistent messages emerging from discussions with people with dementia and their carers has been the desire for there to be someone who they can approach for help and advice at any stage of the illness – ‘someone to be with us on the journey’. Current health and social care services normally discharge individuals once the case is stable and the care package is being delivered. This is almost always perceived negatively by people with dementia and their carers, who, faced with a serious illness where there is inevitable long-term decline and increase in dependency, want to feel that there is continuing support available to them when they need it.
15. In the course of consultation it has become clear that this support needs to be provided without removing health and social care professionals from front-line care, and needs to be complementary to the other elements of the care pathway described here. There are interesting models of provision of support and signposting that are emerging, mostly from the third sector. However there is a lack of good-quality definitive studies available at present from which to choose models with the greatest likelihood of success. This is clearly an area where there is a need to invest in service model development, piloting and evaluation to generate data upon which to make commissioning decisions. A development, demonstration and evaluation phase is therefore proposed.
16. In order to stimulate debate, one possibility for testing would be a ‘dementia adviser’ who can provide a point of contact, advice, and signposting and enabling contact with other services if needed. These posts might best be commissioned from the third sector, but could be located within the early diagnosis and intervention service described above to enable professional support and advice and seamlessness of service. The volume of cases diagnosed with dementia makes this a challenging role that requires a clear remit. Contact details for the dementia adviser could be given to the person with dementia and carers at diagnosis. At the end of an episode of care, individuals with dementia and their carers would therefore not just be discharged from services, but instead continue to have access to the dementia adviser who could contact people pro-actively perhaps once or twice a year to check how things are.
17. The role of a dementia adviser would not be that of intensive case management, as carried out by members of community mental health teams or outreach workers who go into people’s homes, or Admiral Nurses. Rather they would provide a single identifiable point of contact with knowledge of and direct access to the whole range of
40 local services available. Their actions would therefore be to identify what the problems might be, and then to signpost and facilitate engagement with the specialist services that can best provide the person with dementia and their carers with the help, care and support they need simply and quickly. This remit would allow dementia advisers to work with the high numbers of people diagnosed with dementia in each area. They could work with both social care and health care services and be jointly commissioned by local authorities and PCTs.
Peer support and learning networks for people with dementia and their carers
Objective 5: Development of structured peer support and learning networks. The establishment and maintenance of such networks will provide direct local peer support for people with dementia and their carers. It will also enable people with dementia and their carers to take an active role in the development and prioritisation of local services.
How this can be delivered • Demonstrator sites and evaluation to determine current activity and models of good practice to inform commissioning decisions. • Development of local peer support and learning networks for people with dementia and their carers that provide practical and emotional support, reduce social isolation and promote self-care, while also providing a source of information about local needs to inform commissioning decisions. • Support to third sector services commissioned by health and social care.
The case for change
18. One clear message we have received from people with dementia and their carers is that they draw significant benefit from being able to talk to other people living with dementia and their carers, to exchange practical advice and emotional support. Structured models of peer support already exist in some parts of the country, with examples such as carer support groups and dementia cafés. However, they often cater for only a very small proportion of those who might benefit from them. In structured models of support it is possible to incorporate advice and support from health and social care professionals in an effective and efficient manner. Health and social care commissioners need to consider how to support the development of local peer support networks for people with dementia and their carers.
4119. This element of the strategy is complementary to the previous one. People with dementia and their carers can obtain continuity of care and support not only from statutory services, but also in the form of peer support. If the strategy is successful in ensuring that early diagnosis of dementia becomes the norm, then this opens up the possibility for much greater levels of peer support and interaction.
20. There is much good practice in this area already, but activity is often at a relatively low level. The challenge here is first to determine which models of peer working to adopt, and then how to make them available for all who want to access them locally. What is proposed therefore is a programme incorporating investigation and analysis of current practice and the development and evaluation of new models.
21. The value of such an approach is that this can empower people to make choices about what they want, and enable them to care for themselves. Providing people with dementia and their carers with peer support can assist enormously in helping them plan their own lives. On an aggregate level, this can generate advice for commissioners and providers on the local needs of people with dementia and their carers to inform the development of services.
42
Chapter 5: Living well with dementia
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