Living With Dementia
Up to a third of people living with dementia have not received a formal diagnosis
NICE provided guidance and standards that have modernised care and progress has been made. EveryDay however feels that more needs to be done to improve care for people who are living with dementia.
Dementia diagnosis has improved considerably, support has increased. Most people in hospital do receive a formal assessment and if the conclusion is that there is a diagnosis a referral is made to specialist services like our own.
On another positive note there has been a reduction in the prescription of inappropriate antipsychotics. This ensures that people are not receiving unnecessary treatment which could be hiding other causes of their distress such as pain. Knowledge in this area has improved.
Specialist training for health and social care staff could be improved. Thanks to the efforts of Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Champions the numbers of Dementia Friends have increased. Formal dementia training is however required to understand, support and work with people living with dementia. Our own Personal Support Assistants benefit from Dementia, Delirium and Depression (3D) training and a ‘virtual dementia’ tour to enable them to identify issues which might affect our customers.
More could be done to implement NICE guidance to improve the prevention, recognition and treatment of delirium. It can often be wrongly assumed that the changes in a person’s behaviour are due to dementia rather than a potentially treatable and reversible condition.
The prevention of dementia still lags behind other health issues. Public awareness needs to increase if dementia is to be delayed or prevented. When we meet to complete a service review with our EveryDay customers we ensure that we hold a holistic conversation discussing amongst other things health and wellbeing promotion. This relies on our own in house training to deliver a ‘guided conversation’.
Local services have experienced funding cuts over the last few years and as a consequence eligibility criteria has changed. The families of people living with dementia who would once have been eligible for support with care needs are no longer entitled. This then impacts upon hospital discharging and creates ‘bed blocking’ issues. To access a free benefic check to ensure that all eligible benefits are being utilised we would encourage customers to contact Age UK North Tyneside’s Information & Advice team Tel: 0191 2808484 Option 1
Carers tell us that their own needs are often forgotten by health and social care staff which then increases the level of stress they experience impacting on their own quality of life. This can make the difference between continuing to care at home successfully and going into full time care. North Tyneside Carer’s Centre provides a valuable resource to carers.
In conclusion we feel that dementia needs to become a priority. More needs to be done to raise awareness, to educate all ages and to provide support to carers and those living with the condition.
For specialist advice we would encourage customers to talk to our own Dementia Connections team based at Age UK North Tyneside. The team is made up of specialist dementia co-ordinators and Admiral Nurses who are able to provide advice, guidance and support. The team can signpost to various local agencies who are equipped to provide services in support of those living with dementia.
Care and Wellbeing
If you would like to discuss care provision our team would be delighted to discuss our wellbeing centres which provide respite care and so much more. We can offer support at home with our dementia trained care team.