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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

New guideline 'just a starting point' for dementia care improvements

Written by Catherine Wylie

Significant investment is needed to improve the quality of care for dementia patients despite new recommendations, a charity has said.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) published an updated guideline on dementia, but the Alzheimer's Society said it is "just a starting point".

It is the first overall review since the original guideline was published in 2006, and acts as a reference for best practice for all those working in the health and social care field.

A Nice spokesman said the key changes are the recommendations around training staff correctly and those to help carers to better support people living with dementia.

It also recommends providing people living with dementia with a single named health or social care professional who is responsible for coordinating their care.

It also recommends that the initial assessment includes taking a history (including cognitive, behavioural and psychological symptoms, and the impact symptoms have on their daily life) from the person with suspected dementia, and if possible, from someone who knows the person well.

Sally Copley, director of policy, campaigns and partnerships at Alzheimer's Society, said: "With one person developing dementia every three minutes in the UK, it is vital we prioritise dementia care.

"This is the first update to the Nice guideline in 10 years, so it's encouraging to see the steps it's taking to ensure the needs and rights of people with dementia are met.

"However, the guideline is just a starting point.

"What we need now is support to implement these recommendations.

"Take training as an example, a third of homecare workers currently have no dementia training, resulting in inadequate care for many people with dementia.

"The guideline alone can't change this, we'll need to see significant investment to improve care quality, when the Government announces its plans for social care reform in the autumn.

"With diagnoses on the rise, and one million due to have dementia by 2021, all health and social care professionals must be properly equipped to support people with dementia at every stage."

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