New report highlights importance of dementia specialists

New report highlights importance of dementia specialists

A new Department of Health survey has found that the majority of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) have specialist advisers for dementia, which can make it easier for patients who have the condition to better access help.

According to the research, 91 per cent of CCGs and local authorities had some kind of dementia adviser service. The Alzheimer’s Society has said that every person with the condition should have access to it, suggesting that further improvements need to be made in dementia care.

Speaking to Public Sector Executive (PSE), George McNamara, head of integrated care at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the report shows that dementia advisers are "absolutely vital" to help people with dementia to live well with the condition.

He also said ensuring that patients are able to see the same person each time was important, especially as their disease progresses.

Dementia advisers can help patients to access key resources, such as training and advice for carers. They are also responsible for helping people to get essential adaptations around the home to make independent living easier for patients.

The Alzheimer’s Society, which provides 75 per cent of adviser services, has launched a new campaign entitled Right to Know. Under the initiative, the charity wants all patients to access to dementia advisers, while it also calls for better diagnosis rates and for all people to be diagnosed within ten weeks.

Mr McNamara said that investing in dementia advisers can be a cost-effective solution to dementia care in the community, with them saving health and social services money in the long term by limiting the amount of hospital admissions.

According to the report, adviser services were jointly commissioned in 47 per cent of cases, by 35 per cent of CCGs and 67 per cent of local authorities. Mr McNamara said that joint commissioning was based around the "needs of people with dementia, not around the needs of silos".

The report found that people living in the south outside of London were more likely to have more advisers, compared to those in the north and London. This was despite the north of England having the highest case load, with an average of 186 patients for every adviser compared to 88 in London.

This disparity could be because joint commissioning is more common in the south, and that it's more expensive in London. According to the research, more than half of commissioners in this area said that services cost more than £35,000.

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