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A third of dementia patients do not have an individual care plan, charity warns

by Valeria Fiore
14 February 2018

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Patients with dementia are not receiving the right care they are entitled to, as one out of three does not get their care plans reviewed regularly.

The findings come from an analysis of NHS Digital Recorded Dementia Diagnoses monthly publication in November 2017 by the British charity Age UK.  

The charity looked at 7,185 GP practices and found that out of the 458,461 patients that had a recorded diagnosis of dementia in November 2017, only 282,573 received a care plan review or a new care plan in the last year.

The findings don’t chime with NHS England’s Guidance, which specifies that ‘the frequency of reviews should be responsive to the needs of all individuals diagnosed with dementia. As a minimum, the care plan should be reviewed annually’.

It comes as last year the Government launched a ‘Dementia atlas’ to allow patients to compare aspects of dementia care, including care plans reviews.

GPs are in charge to provide care plans reviews, which according to the charity are the ‘gateway to follow up support from the NHS’.

The plans are also an essential instrument in the hands of family members providing care to dementia suffering relatives, said the charity.

For this reason, they compiled a series of interventions that could be implemented by primary care services and the wider NHS, which can be found in their ‘Promising Approaches to Dementia’ report.

Among these, projects include counselling for those who have been recently diagnosed, arts and crafts activities and dance, to nurture non-verbal expression.

Age UK’s charity director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘There aren’t enough good local support services for people of dementia yet but some great initiatives do exist, as we show in our report, so it’s a terrible shame if people aren’t being helped to access them.

‘If the resources are not there to enable this to happen then the Government should make sure they are, especially given the existence of the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020, which includes a commitment to improving the ‘quality of post – diagnosis treatment and support for people with dementia and their carers’. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘We want to make this the best country in the world for dementia care and we therefore expect everyone with dementia to have a personalised care plan.

‘NHS England data shows that over the last two years more people with dementia are getting better access to support.’