Education and training of the NHS workforce has been identified as a key priority in a major new plan to improve services for patients with dementia in England.
All healthcare providers should make available “suitable” training to staff on dementia awareness and understanding, according to the Department of Health’s dementia implementation plan.
“I want Britain to be the best place in the world to live well with dementia”
The plan, published today, is intended to “empower” patients through “improved care and transparency” and improve care by creating a “seven-day dementia service”.
It sets out the activity required to support the “well pathway” for dementia patients – a draft framework developed by NHS England – so that by 2020 they have a better experience of health and social care support from diagnosis through to end of life.
The plan includes key commitments on improving diagnosis, support and care after diagnosis, enabling people to live well in their own homes for longer, end of life care, and education training and workforce.
For example, the plan stated that it was “vital” that health and care professionals have an awareness and understanding of dementia, and how it can affect those with dementia and their carers.
“All providers of care need to be encouraged to make available suitable training materials to their staff,” it said.
In addition, it highlighted that the DH was currently “refreshing” its dementia nursing strategy – Making a Difference in Dementia – originally published in March 2013.
“The strategy reinforces the fundamental role nurses play in providing care and support to people with dementia, so they can live well with the condition,” noted the plan.
“It aims to support all nurses to be responsive to the needs of people with dementia, to continue to develop their skills and expertise and to improve the contribution they make to achieving the best outcomes for people with dementia, their carers and families,” it added.
Announcing the document, health secretary Jeremy Hunt also highlighted a number of headline policy commitments from the plan.
He said it would ensure “for the first time”, people with dementia and their families will be able to compare the quality of dementia care in their local area
He also said the Care Quality Commission would include standards of dementia care in its inspections to “make sure services are safer for people with dementia seven days a week” and that every patient with dementia would receive a personalised care plan.
In addition, a new pilot scheme will look at extending the age range of the dementia section of the NHS Health Checks programme, which is currently 65 years or older. The pilot will include awareness raising, education and discussion of risk reduction for dementia for people aged 40 or older.
Meanwhile, to boost frontline innovation, the plan added that the National Institute of Health Research’s training programmes would continue to increase the numbers of doctors, nurses, and allied health and care professionals becoming researchers in dementia care.
Jeremy hunt new website
Mr Hunt said: “I want Britain to be the best place in the world to live well with dementia.
“Last parliament we made massive strides on diagnosis rates and research,” he said. “This parliament I want us to make big progress on the quality of care and treatment.
“Hospitals can be frightening and confusing places for people with dementia, so our new plan will guarantee them safer seven day hospital care, as well as tackling unacceptable variations in quality across England through transparent Ofsted-style ratings,” he added.