Support after dementia diagnosis in Northern Ireland is 'unequal, inconsistent and inadequate'
Over three in five people affected by dementia in Northern Ireland struggled with too little support over the last.
That figure is according to the charity Alzheimer's Society - it says support following a dementia diagnosis 'unequal, inconsistent and inadequate.'
It's released a new report showing that more than half (54%) of family carers reached crisis points in the last year, with families having no idea of the support available.
This left people with dementia at risk of going to hospital with avoidable conditions like falls or urinary tract infections, creating unnecessary pressure on the NHS, according to the charity's research.
It is calling for every primary care to use the government’s funding for support roles in primary care to provide at least one dementia support worker in their area.
These are specialists in the community who provide the missing link between people affected by dementia and support after a diagnosis.
Bernadine McCrory, Country Director for Alzheimer’s Society in Northern Ireland said:
“No family affected by dementia should face it alone. Post diagnostic dementia support is unequal, inadequate, and inconsistent, leaving families without the necessary care they need to get through some of the hardest and most frightening times of their lives. “People tell us that a lack of dedicated support means they are relying on the internet to find out about their condition, or that the wellbeing of their loved one with dementia depends on how well they’re ‘doing their homework’ to find support.
"Family carers are at breaking point trying to make sure their loved ones are safe, cared for, while trying to maintain some quality of life. “People need the right support from the moment of diagnosis.
"Having a dedicated dementia support worker in every area would plug the gaps we’re seeing in primary care, give people the one point of contact to help them navigate the health and social care system and ease pressure on health services. “Dementia support workers provide a crucial link between the 900,000 people living with dementia – including the 22,000 in Northern Ireland – and post diagnostic support, and they are incredibly cost effective – every £1 spent results in £4 worth of benefits," Bernadine added. Alzheimer’s Society’s report further confirmed that 45.5% of people affected by dementia in Northern Ireland did not feel confident managing their or their loved one’s condition and 28.6% were also unsure when they last had an annual review of their dementia care.
Over half (52%) of those who did have an annual review said it did not help them manage their condition; without an annual review, medication, symptoms and non-medical needs may not be kept in check and people are more likely to end up in crisis.
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