New analysis reveals that one in three people living with dementia do not have a care plan, meaning they don't get the support they are supposed to.
With the number of people living with dementia estimated to hit 1 million by 2020, Age UK is warning of an urgent and growing need to provide much better support for those who have been told they have the condition.
Despite the fact that regularly reviewed care plans should be available for everyone living with dementia, new analysis from Age UK shows that more than one in three people with dementia do not have a care plan. The plans are important because they are the gateway to follow-up support from the NHS, and they should also help ensure that other support a person may be receiving, such as social care, is properly joined-up with NHS help for their dementia.
Age UK analysed data from 7,185 GP practices in England and found that, in total, 458,461 people had a recorded diagnosis of dementia in November 2017, but only 282,573 had a new care plan or at least one care plan review on record in the last year.
Yet NHS England's guidance says, 'there is an urgent need to ensure every person who has dementia has an individual care plan' and goes on to specify that these reviews should take place once every 12 months at the minimum.
The plans are supposed to set out the tailored support someone should receive, and are meant to be reviewed regularly with a health professional as a person's condition progresses and changes. Care plans are equally important for family members who are often providing significant amounts of care for their loved one.
The charity also found that a quarter (24.7%) of GP practices have 50% or fewer people with a dementia diagnosis having received or having had a review of a care plan in the last 12 months.
In light of these figures, Age UK has launched its Promising Approaches to Dementia report which identifies a number of interventions that are evidenced, cost-effective and scalable, and which could be replicated by NHS Trusts, care providers and primary care services.
The services highlighted in the report include projects which provide counselling for the newly-diagnosed; encourage people to get involved in arts and crafts activities; and help people to reminisce through dance. Other groups include Sporting Memories; Dance Well, Dementia Adventure; the Secret Garden & the Butterfly Scheme.