Dementia care standards deemed 'patchy'
Published on 03 April 2013 11:30 AM
Levels of care for dementia sufferers is 'patchy', according to health officials.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) claimed there are inconsistencies as it launched a guideline of basic standards that dementia patients should expect to receive.
This list states that dementia sufferers should be living in properties that are well-suited to meet their needs, should be able to enjoy leisure activities and get involved with their local communities.
Experts must be on hand
As part of the guidelines NICE has also urged local authorities and other service providers to make sure they have an expert on hand who can discuss concerns with dementia patients or their relatives.
Carers and providers have also been told that they should ensure patients have access to regular physical and mental health check ups.
New social care remit
The guidance is the first issued under NICE's new social care remit that was set out under the new Health and Social Care Act, which came into force on April 1.
NICE's deputy chief executive and director of health and social care, Professor Gillian Leng, said dementia care is strong in some places, but not in all.
It's hoped that the new guidelines will help areas that are lagging behind to improve.
She explained that there is an element of 'playing catch up' because of the growing numbers of people with dementia being linked to the ageing population.
Prof Leng added: 'We are just needing now to come to terms with the services that we are meant to be providing to support people - the quality standards will help shape that by providing clarity to some things that would be obvious but they are not necessarily in place at the moment.'
Why dementia care is so important
George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer's Society, highlighted how important strong dementia care is, with 800,000 people living with the illness in Britain.
He explained that many of these rely on some form of social care, but a minority are being let down by the care offered to them.
Mr McNamara said the NICE guidelines are a 'welcome step' that will be useful for the care sector by outlining what expectations should be.
He added: 'But, as they are not mandatory, it's a case of wait and see as to whether this guidance will drive real change or just sit on the shelf.'
Copyright Press Association 2013