The Department of Health has released an interactive map showing how levels of dementia care and assessment compare, including best and worst performing areas.
A “postcode lottery of care” is how dementia campaigners have described the care and support made available to those with the condition, after a map was released by the Department of Health.
The map lets you compare how good a particular area is for people within dementia, including prevention, diagnosis, support and the ability to live well and eventually die well. However, it’s also highlighted the massive variance in care there is for people living with the condition.
For example, in some parts of England, 85.8% of people with dementia will have their care assessed every year, while in other areas, just 49.3% receive that service. Failure to review care needs could mean they’re no longer being met and could be insufficient. It’s lead dementia and ageing campaigner Caroline Abrahams from Age UK to describe it as ‘an unacceptable postcode lottery of care’.
‘We must continue efforts to improve access and quality of care for the growing number of us living with dementia. In some areas help is really good but elsewhere services are frankly not up to scratch, with only a few people receiving at least an annual review of their care following diagnosis.’
On the release of the Atlas, health secretary Jeremy Hunt says:
‘By publishing the current levels of care, we are shining a spotlight on areas where there is still work to be done, whilst highlighting where we can learn from best practice.’
The Atlas can also show how many Dementia Friends there are in each area. Some areas have as many as 8,000 “dementia friends” available to help patients, others have none at all.
George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at Alzheimer’s Society said:
‘People can now see which parts of the country are leading the way with developing dementia-friendly communities, and how many dementia friends there are in each area.’
However, he also said that because the Atlas shone a spotlight on the number of emergency hospital admissions of people with dementia, it should force the NHS to look into why this might be and what can be done about it.
‘The atlas exposes varied care, with some areas reporting much higher numbers of emergency hospital admissions,’ says McNamara. ‘We must urgently explore why people with dementia’s needs are escalating to this point and what can be done in the community to prevent crisis admissions among this vulnerable group. It’s currently easier to find out about your hospital’s finances than the quality of dementia care they provide. To make hospitals more transparent and accountable, we are calling for them to publish an annual statement on dementia care.’
To take a look at the atlas and see how your area compares, click here.