New Deal For Dementia Care

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2009-02-12 08:36

Care for people with dementia will be transformed with the appointment of dementia advisers, better training for GP's and the establishment of memory services staffed by specialists to provide early diagnosis and treatment, Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced today.

The first National Dementia Strategy, backed by ?150 million over the first two years, will increase awareness of dementia, ensure early diagnosis and intervention and radically improve the quality of care that people with the condition receive.

The strategy calls for specialist memory services to be established throughout the country. These will allow people with dementia to have their diagnosis made accurately and early in the course of the illness as well as get access to treatment and intervention that can help them live well with the condition.

Other initiatives recommended in the strategy to help the 570,000 people with dementia in England, their carers and families include:

* GPs trained to recognise the early symptoms of dementia;

* memory services throughout the country staffed by specialists to provide early diagnosis and treatment;

* a senior member of staff to be identified in general hospitals and care homes who will be charged with providing leadership to improve the quality of care for people with dementia;

* the appointment of dementia advisers, who will act as a guide to help people with dementia and their families navigate the care and support system throughout their illness. Their role will be piloted in the first year of the strategy;

* wider provision of older people's community mental health teams to asses patients in care homes and to help minimise the use of anti-psychotic medication;

* better education and training for professionals;

* better evidence on research needs on the causes of and treatment for dementia;

* better information for people with dementia, their carers and families after diagnosis; and

* improved public awareness to help remove the stigma attached to dementia.

The strategy is recognition that the number of people with dementia will double over the next thirty years and the cost of care and treatment is likely to triple. Currently direct costs of dementia to the NHS are approximately ?3.3 billion per year.

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