Nursing care for people with dementia is in need of a radical overhaul, according to the King’s Fund. Sufferers of Alzheimer’s and dementia in England are having NHS-funded care withdrawn in the later stages of their illness. Relatives then have to pick up the bill for additional nursing support.
The number of people receiving continuing care has risen by almost two-thirds in the past three years, according to government statistics. There are 820,000 people living with dementia in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust.
Although the government has issued guidelines to primary care trusts (PCTs) on how they should assess the continuing care needs of people with dementia, funding cuts force many PCTs to simply ignore these guidelines.
The King’s Fund would like to see a re-organisation of the system that differentiates between health care, which the NHS pays for, and social care, which local authorities and individuals have to fund. More fairness and more funding in the system are required.
The national framework has reduced the regional variation in which people receive care but there has been an overall increase in the number of people receiving NHS continuing health care. Since the introduction of the national framework for PCTs, the overall number of people receiving NHS-funded continuing care had risen from just under 31,000 at the end of March 2007 to about 51,000 at the end of September 2010.
Dementia nursing care needs overhaul, says King’s Fund. BBC News; Health, December 4th 2010.