Many patients failing to receive follow-up care after dementia diagnosis, charity says
A large number of patients are failing to receive the follow-up care they are entitled to after a dementia diagnosis, according to the charity Age UK
A large number of patients are failing to receive the follow-up care they are entitled to after a dementia diagnosis, according to the charity Age UK.
It found that thousands of people with the condition do not have a current care plan – a document setting out what care the person is having and contingency plans for the future.
The charity said such plans are the gateway to follow-up support from the NHS and ensure joined-up support from other bodies such as social care services.
Patients should have a regularly reviewed plan which reflects the changes in their condition, and NHS England has said there is an urgent need to ensure every person who has dementia has an individual care plan that is reviewed annually.
The charity analysed data from 7,185 GP practices in England and found that of 458,461 people who had a recorded diagnosis of dementia as of November 2017, only 282,573 had a new care plan or at least one care plan review on record in the past year.
There were 850,000 people with dementia in the UK in 2015, and by 2025 the number is expected to reach one million.
Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘Our analysis suggests that many people with dementia are losing out on the NHS follow-up support they need and are supposed always to be offered once they have received their diagnosis.
‘As a result, they and their loved ones are missing precious opportunities to get help with living as well as possible with the disease.
‘The absence of a care plan also means that people with dementia are not being sign-posted to services that really could improve their physical and mental health, and sense of well-being.’
The charity’s report highlights a number of what it says are cost-effective projects that make a difference for dementia patients, which it says could be replicated by care bodies including NHS trusts. These include:
- Arts and crafts activities.
- Helping people to reminisce through dance.
- Counselling sessions.
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘The NHS has worked hard to dramatically increase the number of people receiving a formal dementia diagnosis so they can access the right care and support.
‘A care plan is only part of high-quality dementia support, which is why we have introduced new measures to help local NHS groups and GPs plan for ongoing care and will continue to help deliver further improvements.’
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