‘Understanding financial cost is part of helping patients with dementia’

As bank HSBC launches finance guide for patients and their families, dementia expert June Andrews says it is important for nurses to discuss care home and service costs

Nurses should be involved in discussions with patients with dementia and their families about the costs of care and the associated financial burdens, according to a nurse expert on the condition.

HSBC bank has launched a guide to help people with dementia keep on top of their finances. Picture: iStock

June Andrews, the author of Dementia: The One-Stop Guide, told Nursing Older People that if nurses are not aware of care home costs and the fact that many dementia services are means tested, they cannot do as much for their patients as possible.

She was responding to the launch by bank HSBC of a guide to help people with dementia keep on top of their finances.

Talk about money

Professor Andrews, who welcomed the bank’s move to become a more dementia-friendly organisation, said: ‘People I know in insurance and banking are always surprised that nurses will ask people about sex, death and bowel movements, but hesitate to talk about money.’

She said it is important nurses understand costs associated with residential dementia care, which can lead to patients having to sell their own homes.

If they understand these costs, they are then able to guide patients on lifestyle changes and services that can delay care home admission, Professor Andrews said.

She added: ‘Understanding finance and the cost of health and social care is important for the well-rounded nurse.’

Keep records

The HSBC guide, aimed at patients and those who support them, includes tips on:

  • Keeping a written record of spending, and retaining receipts.
  • Using regular payments such as standing orders to ensure payments are made on time.
  • Protecting against fraud.

It was developed with the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland. The guide is being trialled in ten branches of HSBC, with plans to use it nationwide, and the bank has also committed to giving staff dementia awareness sessions.

RCN professional lead for the care of older people and dementia Dawne Garrett said: ‘Support needs to be in place so people with dementia can cope with daily activities that many of us take for granted.’

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