What is a Dementia Care Pathway?
In its simplest form, ‘dementia care pathway’ is the term used to describe the process of care that person with dementia may receive from the moment they consult their GP with concerns about symptoms such as the loss of short-term memory loss and are diagnosed with dementia through to the end of their life.
In 2009, the UK government’s “Living Well with Dementia: a national dementia strategy” provided a new strategic framework for making quality improvements to dementia services and addressing health inequalities. Backed by £150 million of additional funding, the strategy outlined seventeen recommendations that the government required the NHS, local bodies and other organisations concerned with dementia care to implement in order to improve their services.
In response, the NHS and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), as well as many independent agencies which deliver dementia care, have developed their own versions of dementia care pathways.
These are based upon the three key principles of:
- Raising awareness and understanding of dementia
- Obtaining early diagnosis and support, and
- Living well with dementia
The requirements of a Dementia Care Pathway
At different stages of the condition each person may need the assistance of different support services and levels of care. Although each individual’s experience will differ according to their circumstances as the condition progresses, but regardless of this any good dementia care pathway should:
- Be accessible to anyone diagnosed with dementia regardless of age or background
- Accord the person with dementia due dignity and respect, acknowledging their individuality and abilities
- Encourage the person 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 practical
- Tailor the care received to the individual as fully as possible to help a person with dementia to enjoy the best possible quality of life
- Be easily understood by a person with dementia and their carers
- Encompass the principles embodied in “Living Well with Dementia: a national dementia strategy”.
Choosing the right care provision in the later stages of a dementia care pathway
Dementia is a progressive condition which affects memory and cognitive ability. It can be best understood as the failure to store the facts of what has happened recently whilst still storing feelings in the usual way. Although a person with dementia may have difficulty recalling their experiences of the last day they can possess memories from many years previously that are still accessible and useful to them.
For this reason, family members who may influence an individual’s dementia care pathway should consider carefully the options for care provision in the later stages of the condition. Moving a person with dementia away from a family home in which they have spent a large period of their lives into the new and unfamiliar surroundings of a residential care or nursing home might potential result in confusion and distress.
Having won and been shortlisted for more health and care awards than any other UK live-in home care provider, The Good Care Group has grown, since 2009, to become a leading provider of live-in home care. Tailored to the needs of the individual our care plans enable people living with dementia to maintain an independent and fulfilled life. You can find out more about our 24 hour dementia care services here. Alternatively, to speak to someone about your dementia care requirements please call 0203 728 7577.