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Thursday, 03 November 2016

Charity survey suggests dementia sufferers prevented from getting personalised care

Written by The Press Association

Patients with dementia are being prevented from receiving personalised care because of a "deep-seated misunderstanding" about how they can tailor their own care, a charity has said.

The Alzheimer's Society said that fewer than a third of people receiving social care support for problems with memory and cognition have a personal budget.

This is despite the fact that anyone who is receiving support from social services is entitled to a personal budget - cash that is allocated by a local council to pay for care or support.

The charity performed a mystery-shopper style evaluation of 60 councils in England to see whether personalised care budgets were available to patients with dementia.

They said that many are failing to make people with dementia aware of their entitlement to a personal budget.

Nearly two thirds of local authorities failed to provide information relevant to people with dementia, the charity said.

And 7% of local authorities actively deterred the caller from pursuing a personal budget, with some citing how "complicated" the process was.

George McNamara, head of policy at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Personal budgets are essential to delivering person-centred care, giving people with dementia choice and control over the care and support they receive.

"This deep-seated misunderstanding - that personal budgets aren't appropriate for people with dementia - is preventing local authorities from truly delivering person-centred care.

"Of the few people with dementia who have a personal budget, fewer still receive direct payments - the vast majority have their payments managed by their local authority, meaning their choice of care provider is limited to those on an approved list.

"We need a sea change in the way local authorities provide personal budgets for people with dementia, from providing clear and accessible information to training staff to better understand how personal budgets can work for people with dementia."

The Alzheimer's Society has created a guide so councils can improve the personal budgets process for people with dementia and their carers. It has also called on authorities to sign up to a Dementia-Friendly Personal Budgets Charter.

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