Palliative care must be a priority for dementia
Posted 25 August, 2008
Alzheimer Scotland welcomes the attention drawn to ‘inconsistencies’ in palliative care for different conditions in the recent Review of palliative care services in Scotland report from Audit Scotland. This report has prompted a pledge from the Scottish Government for a national plan to improve palliative care provision.
Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said “This certainly cannot come too soon for people in the later stages of dementia; who have not enjoyed the same level of access to specialist support as those with other conditions, such as cancer. End of life care for people with dementia could be significantly improved if similar resources and expertise were made available.”
Alzheimer Scotland has been working in partnership with the Care Commission and Dementia Services Development Centre on the Beyond Barriers project, which is funded by the Scottish Government. Beyond Barriers commenced in April 2007 and aims to develop current care practice by supporting staff and relatives to meet the palliative care needs of people with dementia. The pilot phase in Dumfries & Galloway was completed, with great success, in late 2007 and the programme is now being rolled out nationally through 100 key learning and development champions recruited from care homes across Scotland.
Dementia is the 4th most common cause of death in Scotland (after heart disease, stroke and cancer)1 and is a major cause of disability in people aged over 60. It contributes 11.2% of all years lived with disability, more than stroke (9%), musculoskeletal disorders (8.9%), cardiovascular disease (5%) and all forms of cancer (2.4%)2. Approximately 23,000 of Scotland’s 62,500 people with dementia need constant care.
1. Good for You – Good for Your Brain: the evidence on risk reduction and dementia (http://www.alzscot.org/pages/info/riskreductionbooklet.htm)
2.The Dementia Epidemic: where Scotland is now and the challenge ahead (http://www.alzscot.org/pages/policy/dementiaepidemic.htm). Figures updated for 2008.