Care home stakeholders have responded to the government’s publication of data showing a wide variation in the quality of dementia care across the country.
The dementia atlas, which can be seen here, reveals that 85.8% of patients in North East Lincolnshire have their care reviewed once a year, while this rate is just 49.3% in Somerset.
Responding to the findings Alan Patchett, director of Age UK Sunderland, said other parts of the country should follow the lead provided by his area.
Mr Patchett said: “This report makes for grim reading for certain areas of the country. In a time in which we are seeing the number of diagnosed cases of dementia rise, we absolutely must be looking for new and innovative ways of supporting those in our community who are living with this condition.
“In Sunderland, the partnerships between Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and organisations like Age UK Sunderland and the Sunderland Carers’ Centre are going some way towards supporting those who are coming to terms with the reality of life after a dementia diagnosis. It is this approach that is helping to change the lives of a great many people who face the often frightening prospect of life with dementia.”
Age UK Sunderland delivers the Essence Service which is funded by Sunderland CCG. Operating out of a main hub in Doxford Park, the service provides practical and emotional support to those recently diagnosed with dementia and their carers, helping with sessions that help keep their mind active, as well as signposting to other organisations and providing benefit checks that may support the carer and the individual.
To find out more about the services offered by Age UK Sunderland, go to http://www.ageuk.org.uk/sunderland/our-services/essence-service/
Mary Clarke CEO of training provider Cognisco, meanwhile, said people development must be part of the solution to the dementia care lottery.
Ms Clarke said: “We welcome the Health Secretary’s new atlas, which highlights regional inconsistencies in the NHS in the quality of care for dementia and strategies for end of life care.
“Our work in the private sector has shown that having accurate data on performance standards is the first vital step in driving up standards of care, as best practice and learning can be captured and shared.
“But raising care standards is also down to the carers dealing with patients every day. It is essential they are competent and feel confident in all aspects of their roles and have the right training and support to do their jobs properly.”
Cognisco has been working with partners in the private care sector to drive up standards of care since 2015, when the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that 18,000 care homes in England ‘required improvement.’
Then, the key areas of focus for the private care sector were improving end of life care and ensuring patients’ provided better patient-centred care – with staff treating residents with dementia as unique individuals, with their own interests, capabilities and needs – not as someone with an illness.
To help tackle the issue, Cognisco and care home provider, Belong jointly developed a ‘Dementia*Care assessment’. This online assessment tests the knowledge and confidence of care staff in all aspects of their role, highlights gaps in knowledge and identifies specific training needs of individuals.