Some Hopeful Signs for Better Dementia Care
Asmall but significant step was taken for people with dementia yesterday. A 54-page report setting out the "quality standards" they can expect from providers of care was published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). For the first time, families of people with dementia unhappy about some aspect of care their loved one is receiving will have a document they can use to back their case. At the same time, providers now have a set of standards to help guide them in deciding what their priorities should be in terms of delivering care.
The report may prove most useful for those in the private sector who are paying for care, where it will provide extra leverage in an under-regulated area that can feel like the Wild West. Whilst some of the standards may seem too obvious to need stating - "people with dementia [should be] enabled to maintain relationships" - the Mid- Staffs scandal has shown us how even the most basic aspects of care can be neglected when a system becomes dysfunctional.
The new initiative by NICE, renamed to reflect its extended remit, is thus welcome. But it represents a tiny advance against a formidable foe. There are more than 800,000 people with dementia in the UK, and their numbers are projected to top one million by 2021. A third are living in residential homes, 670,000 people are involved in caring for people with dementia and the cost to the UK was 23bn in 2012. The disease causes amnesia, loss of language, mood changes, apathy, psychosis and aggression. But its worst aspect is the way it strips the dignity and personality from those it strikes - with no prospect of effective treatment let alone cure.
The human and financial costs of dementia are growing rapidly as the population ages, but the prospect of treatments to halt it, …
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Publication information: Article title: Some Hopeful Signs for Better Dementia Care. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: April 3, 2013. Page number: 16. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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