No follow up support for one in three dementia diagnoses

Age UK has revealed that one in three people with a life-changing diagnosis of dementia don’t have a care plan and fail to get the follow up NHS support they are supposed to.

NHS England guidance says that there is ‘an urgent need to ensure every person who has dementia has an individual care plan’. However, data shows that 458,461 people had a recorded diagnosis of dementia in November 2017, but only 282,573 had a new care plan or at least one care plan review on record in the last year.

With the number of people living with dementia estimated to reach one million by 2020, care plans helps to ensure that other support a person may be receiving such as social care is properly integrated with NHS help for their dementia.

To help combat this, the charity has launched its Promising Approaches to Dementia report which identifies a number of interventions that are evidenced, cost effective and scalable, and which could be replicated by NHS trusts, care providers and primary care services.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK's charity director, commented: ”Our analysis suggests that many people with dementia are losing out on the NHS follow up support they need and are supposed always to be offered, once they have received their diagnosis. As a result they and their loved ones are missing precious opportunities to get help with living as well as possible with the disease.

“The absence of a care plan also means that people with dementia are not being sign-posted to services that really could improve their physical and mental health, and sense of well-being. There aren't enough good local support services for people of dementia yet but some great initiatives do exist, as we show in our report, so it's a terrible shame if people aren't being helped to access them.

“Looking ahead, it's clear that we have to do a lot more to enable the growing numbers of people with dementia to live well among us, as fellow citizens in our society, but the starting point must be to ensure that the NHS's existing guidance on supporting people with the disease is actually put into practice. If the resources are not there to enable this to happen then the government should make sure they are, especially given the existence of the Prime Minister's challenge on dementia 2020, which includes a commitment to improving the "quality of post - diagnosis treatment and support for people with dementia and their carers.”

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