According to several stories in the national press a new NHS map shows that dementia care nationally is a “postcode lottery” with some elderly people not having their needs assessed for over a year. Around two thirds of us would like to send our last few days at home surrounded by our loved ones and belongings but a wide gulf in support makes this a lottery. In Newham just 34% are able to die at home, whereas in central Cheshire it is 84%.
Caroline Abrahams of Age UK stated: “Support is patchy and this is an unacceptable postcode lottery of care. At present it is estimated 850,000 Britons live with dementia and due to an ageing population it is predicted this figure will rise to 1 million by 2025, and 2 million by 2050. NHS guidelines state every patient should have a face-to-face meeting at least once a year to have their care plan reviewed. In Somerset less than 50% are reviewed within a year yet in North East Lincolnshire it is 85%.”
George McNamara of the Alzheimers’ Society comments: “Everyone with a dementia diagnosis must have a meaningful care plan that specifically meets their needs. Without this they will not get the required support which improves their quality of life. We would like to see hospitals more accountable by publishing statistics relating to their performance on dementia.” According to a recent SAGA Survey 68% of people aged over-50 fear dementia whilst only 9% are frightened about cancer.
Independent Living Owner, Mark Booker, concluded: “We care for people in their own homes and are finding that more and more of our work is dementia related. Whilst support services are always the target of negative press I feel that the number of dementia cases is simply overrunning the system. It is further complicated by dementia services being provided by several organisations or departments and when this happens communication inevitably breaks down resulting in some support not being provided. My experience is also that people want to be cared for at home whenever possible, and long term stays in hospital and rehabilitation centres are not where people want to be, or indeed should be, beyond a few weeks.”