Dementia patient care 'patchy'

The standard of care provided for people with dementia is "patchy", the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said.

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Dementia patients 'denied quality of life they deserve'

There are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK, many of whom rely on some form of social care.

Whilst many people receive excellent quality care, too often standards are falling short and people are being denied the quality of life they deserve.

It's a welcome step that Nice are recognising the need to raise standards and have prioritised dementia as needing a benchmark for what good quality care should look like.

These standards will be a useful tool for the care sector and show what people with dementia and carers should be able to expect.

But, as they are not mandatory, it's a case of wait and see as to whether this guidance will drive real change or just sit on the shelf."

– George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer's Society

Dementia patient care 'needs to catch up'

The general picture is that care is patchy. We know that it is really good in places but it's not consistent so that's what we want to be able to achieve with the quality standards is consistent, clear advice.

My personal view is that we are all playing catch up because the numbers of people with dementia has been increasing so dramatically - it is related to the ageing population.

We are just needing now to come to terms with the services that we are meant to be providing to support people - the quality standards will help shape that by providing clarity to some things that would be obvious but they are not necessarily in place at the moment.

– Professor Gillian Leng, Nice's deputy chief executive


Supporting people with dementia

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) have outlined a set of basic standards for dementia patients.

As part of the guide, dementia patients should expect to;

  • Discuss concerns with someone with knowledge and expertise.
  • Be involved in making choices and decisions about their care and support.
  • Take part in a review of their needs and preferences when their circumstances change.
  • Choose to take part in leisure activities which match their interests.
  • Continue to meet their friends and family and make new relationships.
  • Have routine check-ups of their physical and mental health and see healthcare professionals when they have concerns.
  • Live in housing that is adapted to help them maintain their independence.
  • Be involved in and influence the design, planning, evaluation and delivery of services.
  • Have help from independent advocacy servicesto present their views.
  • Continue to be involved in and contribute to their community.

What is dementia?

  • The term 'dementia' describes several symptoms which include loss of memory, mood changes and problems with communicating.
  • Dementia occurs when the brain is damaged by certain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and damage caused by a series of small strokes.
  • Dementia is progressive and the symptoms gradually get worse. The progression depends on the individual person and what type of dementia they have.
  • Dementia affects 800,000 people in the UK and it mainly affects people over the age of 65.
  • However, it can affect younger people as there are over 17,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 who have dementia.

Warning over 'patchy' dementia care

Some dementia sufferers are not getting basic levels of care, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) have said.

Launching a set of basic standards that patients should expect from their care, health officials have said that care for dementia sufferers is "patchy".

Care for dementia suffers is patchy, health experts have said. Credit: PA

Dementia sufferers should live in housing which meets their needs, they should be able to participate in leisure activities and should be able to maintain their involvement with their local communities, according to the new Nice guidance.

The guidance, the first under Nice's new social care remit set out under the Health and Social Care Act which came into force on Monday, also says that carers and service providers should ensure that patients have access to routine physical and mental health check ups.

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