New report highlights the need to improve dementia care
Services need to be improved urgently for people with dementia and their carers, as the costs of care could triple within 20 years if we don’t take action, says a new improvement report on dementia care by the Health Foundation.
There are 750,000 people with dementia in the UK and this is forecast to increase to over a million by 2021. The burden and costs of care are huge: around £8bn in direct care costs, with an estimate of £20bn associated costs to the economy as a whole.
Spotlight on Dementia Care brings together data on performance, case studies, research evidence and key recommendations from major policy documents. The summary of recommendations broadly align to form a ‘road map’ for high quality care, but the performance data shows that this level of care is not in place across our health and care systems.
The report also details how the care pathway can be improved at every stage from diagnosis and support in the community, through to appropriate care in hospital and better residential care. It highlights examples of good practice and data on current performance, demonstrating widespread variation in care provision across the country.
The report concludes that both the level and the style of care provision are not meeting people’s needs and this is resulting in a poor experience of care and higher costs.
In order to help services address the gap between current provision and best practice, the report summarises the research evidence on ways to improve care in the most cost-effective way.
Martin Marshall, Clinical Director and Director of Research and Development at the Health Foundation, said ‘The rising numbers of people with dementia presents a major challenge to the health and social care services. This report highlights where the challenges lie and suggests ways of improving outcomes for people with dementia and their carers, and how resources could be used more effectively.
"We aim to help raise the quality of practice in dementia care, signposting people to sources of research and good practice evidence and hope it will encourage clinicians, managers and policy makers to take concrete action.’