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What is a dementia care pathway?
A dementia care pathway describes the care a person receives from the moment they consult their GP about short-term memory loss and then receive a dementia diagnosis, right up until the very end-of-life. In 2009, the UK Government’s ‘Living well with dementia: a national dementia strategy’ provided a new strategic framework for making quality improvements in dementia services and addressing well publicised health inequalities. The dementia care pathway strategy was backed by £150million in additional funding and outlined 17 recommendations that the government required the NHS, local bodies and other organisations concerned with dementia care to implement to improve their services.
In response to the Government’s strategy, many healthcare providers and independent agencies developed their own versions of the dementia care pathway. The NHS ‘well-pathway for dementia’ describes a framework of care and support that a person living with dementia requires at each stage of their journey from prevention to end-of-life, it focuses on ensuring the person is provided with the right information, care and support that means they live well. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) pathway covers diagnosis and managing dementia, and supporting people living with dementia and their family carers. It aims to improve care by making recommendations on training staff and on helping professional carers to support people to live well with dementia.
Requirements of a dementia care pathway
There are three key principles that any dementia care pathway should be based upon:
- Raising awareness and understanding of dementia
- Obtaining an early diagnosis and support for those living with dementia and their families
- Being above live well with dementia
Whilst the condition affects people in different ways at each stage of the condition, with needs to information and services evolving as the condition progresses, a strong dementia care pathway should:
- Be accessible to anyone diagnosed with dementia regardless of age or background
- Afford the person living with dementia due dignity and respect, acknowledging their individuality and abilities
- Encourage the person living with dementia to retain their self-reliance, control and independence by nurturing their abilities and strengths
- Enable dementia care providers to continue caring for as long as is practical
- Tailor the care received to the individual as fully as possible to help the person with dementia enjoy the best quality of life
- Be easily understood by a person living with dementia and their carers
- Encompass the principles embodied in ‘Living well with dementia: a national strategy’
Living well with dementia at home
Our care pathway for dementia starts at home. We know receiving care in the comfort, safety and familiarity of your own home has far reaching benefits in improving overall health and well-being for a person living with dementia. Moving at any stage in life can be disruptive and stressful. When an individual is living with dementia the process of moving to a care home, away from their much-loved home full if its treasured possessions and memories can be really heart-wrenching and daunting, affecting their ability to live well with dementia. We know that staying at home and receiving compassionate, one-to-one care from a highly trained and well matched professional carer improves quality of life and health outcomes for an individual living with dementia. Our personalised approach to providing high-quality live-in care for a person living with dementia, with a fully managed and flexible service that families can rely on is setting the standards in live-in care.
Our living well with dementia care pathway
We have been innovating dementia care for over 10 years. All our professional carers are trained in how to care for someone living with dementia and use a range of best practice techniques proven to provide reassurance, reduce anxiety and calm behaviours, whilst reducing the need to use antipsychotic drugs used widely in many care home settings. Our care pathway for dementia means the person with dementia can live well, despite the challenges dementia can present with the gentle encouragement and compassionate care provided by our dementia carers. The high-quality care provided by our carers has seen a 66% reduction in the use of antipsychotic medications compared with the average care home.
As part of our dementia care pathway UK, we work collaboratively with leading medical experts, academic bodies and leading charities ensure our care is of the very highest standards. Our work with the Contented Dementia Trust to introduce the SPECAL approach to our dementia care pathway helps us to understand and discover what is important to the person living with dementia, enabling us to develop a purposeful and meaningful programme of care.
We adopt a blended approach to delivery of dementia care, led and supported by our own Consultant Admiral Nurse. The support from an Admiral Nurse, working with leading dementia charity, Dementia UK means we can offer unrivalled levels of emotional and practical support based on best practice dementia care to those living with dementia and their families.
Industry leading training is a core part of our dementia care pathway to ensure all our professional carers have a strong understanding and awareness of dementia and how best to support someone with living with the condition. Our professional carers are trained in the SPECAL approach to dementia care and our management team complete a higher-level dementia care training programme. It does not stop there. Our care teams receive on-going coaching, mentoring and support based on latest thinking and research that ensure they have the knowledge, skills and aptitude to deliver positive dementia care.
To support you and your family we have created a useful Dementia Care Guide which provides you with information and advice on how to provide person-centred dementia care following a diagnosis of dementia. There is also a number of dementia charities across the UK who have adopted a dementia care pathway that ensures families have help, advice and support when they need it most, including Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.
The NHS has a useful living well with dementia guide that provides practical tips and guidance so people living with dementia can live a fulfilling life.