Comment: Is there a postcode lottery of care for Dementia patients?
Written by Assistant Litigation Executive in Fletchers Solicitors Medical Negligence team, Megan Tyrer.
Back in August 2016, the Department of Health said there is a ‘post code lottery of care for Dementia patients.’
This is a result of government data highlighting Dementia patients are being let down by local services across the country.
Consequently, almost three years on the fight to bridge the disparity in Dementia care continues.
The system of support for people with Dementia remains in need of an urgent overhaul.
Because of this, winners are few and far between and like the real lottery – people continue to hope for a better life!
What is dementia?
Dementia is a long and degenerative condition and it is only right that those people suffering should be carefully monitored.
Every person with Dementia should be having an annual check up to review their care needs.
Furthermore, in some areas, only a few people are receiving an annual review of their care following diagnosis.
What is the problem?
First of all, over stretched GP’s can no longer cope with the rising number of Dementia patients.
At the moment, around 537,000 people in the UK fall victim to the disease.
Even worse, not everyone with Dementia has a diagnosis.
This can be due to a number of factors including difficulty diagnosing in the early stages, slow progression and limited public awareness.
They often have to wait months for vital secondary care like physiotherapy or mental health services.
People with Dementia end up in hospital more often, stay longer and are much more likely to die there.
What is the wider impact of Dementia?
Not only are the people with Dementia suffering, but their families are too.
A significant proportion of Dementia care is provided in people’s own homes, either by care workers or their families.
Some often have little or no training on how to reduce the impact of the condition.
Because of this, many are expressing their fears about feeling ill-equipped to provide the care that is needed.
An example of this happened in May 2019.
For that reason, the BBC panorama programme “Crisis in Care – Part 1: Who Cares?” featured Rachel, a woman in her 30’s who is a full-time carer for her mum who has incredibly challenging Dementia.
Due to council cuts, the only respite care Rachel received was about to come to an end.
This is just one example of how the system of support for people living with Dementia is unfair.
With carers often able to earn more money taking a minimum wage job, it is easy to see why a system already under strain is on the verge of collapse.
More needs to be done to achieve equality for all Dementia patients.
in terms of prevention, diagnosis, support and end of life care.
The Alzheimer’s Society are standing up for people with dementia who need better care.
Join the fix Dementia care campaign today via their website.