A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into dementia found that providing earlier diagnosis and better support for people with dementia and their carers could result in massive cost savings and better care.
Responding to the report, the Alzheimer?s Society called for urgent action in making dementia a national health and social care priority.
Neil Hunt chief executive of the Alzheimer?s Society says,
‘We?re delighted that this hard-hitting report echoes the Alzheimer?s Society?s calls for dementia to be made a national priority. The human and economic cost of dementia can?t be ignored ? one in three older people will end their lives with a form of dementia.
‘It is absolutely crucial that people with dementia get diagnosed as early as possible so that they and their families get the information and support they need. We must develop health and social care services that can respond to the challenge of dementia. A lot of money is being spent on inadequate dementia care ? we need to plan now to make better use of resources.
‘Dementia is the cancer of the 1950s ? we must take strides forward in reducing the stigma of dementia.’
Dawn Edmonds, 51, of Shropshire who cares for her husband Dave, 60, added,
‘Coping with dementia has been a struggle at every step ? first in getting a diagnosis and drug treatments, then in accessing services to help us deal with this devastating disease. Every aspect of my waking life is filled with looking after Dave ? I?m his full time carer and I have to do everything for him. It?s incredibly hard, very tiring, very frustrating and very restrictive.’
The NAO report, entitled ‘Improving services and support for people with dementia’, is further evidence of the human and economic cost of dementia. It supports the Alzheimer?s Society report ‘Dementia UK’ published in February 2007, which exposed the ?17 billion cost of dementia to the UK. More than 700,000 people in the UK have dementia, and this is set to rise to more than a million by 2025.
Key NAO report findings include:
Services are not delivering value for money to taxpayers or people with dementia and their families. Early interventions that are known to be cost-effective, and which would improve quality of life, are not being made widely available.
The rapid ageing of the population means costs will rise and services are likely to become increasingly inconsistent and unsustainable without redesign.
Fewer than two thirds of GPs felt it was important to look actively for early symptoms of dementia. GPs scored on average only 47 per cent correct answers in a knowledge survey on dementia and their confidence in diagnosing dementia had fallen since 2004.
Health and/or social care professionals lack the training and knowledge to provide advice on services and support that may help improve people?s quality of life.
Having a clear diagnosis of dementia could reduce the number/length of acute hospital episodes and delay the need for admission to more expensive long-term care.
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Sub-editorDementia :: National audit report echoes call for action on dementia, UK
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on July 8th, 2007 at 11:40 pm.
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