Lack of support for people with dementia

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The Alzheimer’s Society has warned that patients with dementia are not provided with adequate guidance and support after being diagnosed. Around 20% of patients are not offered any support or information after their diagnosis.

A new survey which was conducted on around 400 people affected by dementia discovered that 90% were dissatisfied with the support received. Around 21% stated that they had received no support at all.

Alzheimer’s Society is launching a new campaign on 2 July, Right to Know, to ensure that those with dementia obtain a diagnosis, and thereafter gain access to information, support and treatment.

The campaign is being launched to voice the concerns of people living with dementia. Around 97% of the respondents in the poll agreed that the government should be doing more to support those who had received a diagnosis of dementia.

The Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, Jeremy Hughes, said that too many dementia patients are left without guidance to aid them in coming to terms with their condition. He said that the government has indicated their commitment to improving the lives of those with dementia and programmes are being implemented to improve the rates of diagnoses. However, he stated that the lack of support after a diagnosis cannot be ignored as it leaves these vulnerable people floating. People with dementia have said that if offered the correct support they could live a good life and although Alzheimer’s Society is there to offer support, a commitment is required to reach everyone who needs care and support.

Mr Hughes is calling on government to ensure that every individual with dementia gains access to a Dementia Adviser. This will be a named contact who will aid the patient in coming to terms with their diagnosis and finding them the support they require to continue living their life.

Along with its call for post-diagnosis support, the charity would also like to see:

• That no person waits more than 12 weeks from the date of consultation with their GP to diagnosis
• A 66% diagnosis rate across all regions, with an immediate commitment to target 75% by 2017
• A guarantee that each person will be given access to a Dementia Adviser after their diagnosis

Of the 665065 people suffering from dementia in England, only 48% have received a formal diagnosis. The diagnosis rates vary greatly from one area to another and in the high performing areas, 75% of dementia sufferers have received a diagnosis, whilst in other areas the percentage is as low as 33%.

The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia was targeted to improve the rates of diagnoses, but progress has been very slow. The rates in England have only increased by 2% per annum.

Image Credit: K. Kendall

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