Opinion

Nurses need 'time, support and resources' to make new dementia strategy a reality

The new dementia strategy from the Department of Health's is a positive move, says Rachel Thompson
Dementia

The new dementia strategy from the Department of Health's is a positive move, says Rachel Thompson

The new dementia strategy from the Department of Health (DH) offers a positive emphasis on the enablement and empowerment of people living with dementia and supporting them to live as well as possible.

We are grateful to the DHs professional adviser on dementia care, Ben Thomas, for the work he has put in to this. We are also really pleased to see the acknowledgement of the nurses role in health education and in identifying and managing multiple long-term conditions at all stages and phases of the condition.

This is vital if we are to address the often complex needs of people with dementia and to promote co-ordinated care.

Also welcomed is the focus on working within an interpersonal and psychosocial model and supporting people at different phases.

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The new dementia strategy from the Department of Health's is a positive move, says Rachel Thompson

The new dementia strategy from the Department of Health (DH) offers a positive emphasis on the enablement and empowerment of people living with dementia and supporting them to live as well as possible.  

We are grateful to the DH’s professional adviser on dementia care, Ben Thomas, for the work he has put in to this. We are also really pleased to see the acknowledgement of the nurses’ role in health education and in identifying and managing multiple long-term conditions at all stages and phases of the condition.

This is vital if we are to address the often complex needs of people with dementia and to promote co-ordinated care.

Also welcomed is the focus on working within an ‘interpersonal and psychosocial’ model and supporting people at different phases.

This includes the importance of understanding mental capacity, knowing the person’s life story, and involving families at all stages.

Although a requirement for dementia education and training is referred to - using the Dementia Core Knowledge and Skills Framework - more direction is required on how this will be delivered and supported and how the quality and standards in education delivery will be monitored.

If training and education is to be embedded into practice this needs to be supported by specialists, by leaders and with sufficient resources.

We were naturally pleased to see the inclusion of Admiral nurses in offering specialist skills and feel they can play a significant role in supporting education of other staff and implementing best practice.

However more detail is needed on how the different roles and levels of nursing involvement should be implemented in providing leadership, promoting best practice and supporting those with complex needs.

Lastly, while there is some reference to the fact that younger people and people with learning disabilities may be living with dementia, these individuals often have very specific needs and may have atypical symptoms.

How these people are supported and these complexities identified could have been made more explicit in the document.

On the whole, we are pleased that the strategy has been re-launched and continued emphasis given to the importance of caring for people with dementia but nurses will need time, support and resources to make this a reality.


Further information

How Admiral nurses help

 

   

Rachel Thompson is an Admiral nurse professional and practice development lead, Dementia UK 

Admiral Nurses are dementia specialist nurses supported by the charity Dementia UK. 

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