Making sure new Government measures for COVID-19 consider people affected by dementia

While coronavirus will undoubtedly have an impact on everyone in the country, it poses an increased risk to people living with dementia, and we are calling on the Government to prioritise their welfare.

The Government has announced funding for the NHS and Local Authorities to deal with coronavirus, which we welcome.

However, with 95 per cent of people living with dementia being over 65, we are asking the Government to clarify how these funds are going to protect them.

We want to see more support and mention of people living with dementia in social care, the NHS and for families with caring responsibilities.

As the Government looks to pass emergency legislation to enable them to implement plans to combat the virus, we are working to ensure this Bill works for people with dementia and their families.

We are in touch with politicians and civil servants, using every available influencing opportunity, to make sure their plans take people affected by dementia into account.

Key areas we will be working with politicians and civil servants to consider

  • When guidance for local authorities will be ready and what support will be offered to make sure that the rights of people with dementia are protected even at the peak of the crisis.
  • Calling on Government give assurances that people with dementia will not be discharged to unsuitable care homes without staff that have had dementia training.
  • Ensuring financial guarantee is given to families living with dementia that they will not be retrospectively charged for inappropriate care home places once the pandemic is over?
  •  Insisting that steps taken by Government are communicated to the tens of thousands of families affected by dementia as temporary changes won’t cause them long term damage.
  • Positively influencing the isolation challenges people affected by dementia will face by looking at the service provision and support Alzheimer’s Society can offer through our Dementia Friends programme.

Support in social care

Two thirds of homecare users and 70 per cent of people in care homes live with some form of dementia.

We believe it is vital that the Government makes sure the care sector has the support it needs.

With current huge staffing shortages across the sector, we need to know what support is in place for care homes where staff develop or come into contact with coronavirus and need to self-isolate to keep others safe.

We would like more detail on how the additional funding from Government will ensure people in social care are protected with quality care that is considerate of the complex and varying needs of people living with dementia. 

Support in the NHS

Bed availability in the NHS will be a huge issue throughout the outbreak. In the worst affected countries, we have already seen a real strain on hospitals.

At the beginning of this year, Alzheimer’s Society shared our findings about the cost to the NHS of emergency admissions and delayed discharges for people with dementia, as a result of a lack of support for them in their communities.

We found that people with dementia were admitted to hospital as an emergency in England over 379,000 times in 2017/18, with 40,000 people with dementia stranded in hospital for longer than a month.

Around a quarter of people in hospitals are thought to be living with dementia, and with beds now in much higher demand, we want to ensure that patients with dementia will be safely discharged from hospital, and able to receive the specialist care they need when they leave.

Stay updated by email

We are updating our campaigners regularly on our work to make sure that people living with dementia and their families are impacted as little as possible by coronavirus. If you would like to hear more about what we are doing, you can sign up to our campaigner emails.

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