Nicola Sturgeon to launch ‘Dementia: making decisions’ – a vital guide to decision-making for people with dementia, their carers, partners and families
Posted 26 June, 2012
On Tuesday 26 June 2012 at 2.30pm, in Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will launch a practical guide to decision-making for family members, partners or friends who have power of attorney or guardianship for someone with dementia.
The guide, Dementia: making decisions, provides practical advice and information on how to weigh-up information and options for action when faced with situations in which major decisions need to be made. This guide was informed by a study of over 100 carers with proxy decision-making powers, funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
I welcome this practical guide to decision-making for family members, partners or friends who have power of attorney or guardianship for someone with dementia.
I know from listening to carers just how challenging that caring role can be, and this will be a significant resource in helping loved ones in that key caring role.
Improving dementia services is a personal priority for me. Our national commitment from 2013 of a minimum of a year’s post-diagnostic support co-ordinated by a named person will be key to supporting people with dementia and their families and carers – including helping them as they navigate practical and legal issues and plan for the future.
Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister
Dementia gradually affects a person’s ability to absorb, understand and remember information; to weigh up options, and protect their own interests. Taking on the role of attorney or guardian is an additional challenge for carers. The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, aimed to identify the unmet needs of family members, partners and friends who become ‘proxy decision-makers,’ and to produce a practical guide to support them in making decisions which comply with the rules or principles set out in the incapacity law.
Carers are frequently faced with stressful situations; for example, when the person they care for is unaware of the risks they are taking, is refusing help, or in the later stages, making decisions about end of life care. Family members also spoke of the difficulties they faced in dealing with bureaucracy, professional differences and family conflicts. They were particularly distressed when care services offered were limited and sometimes poor quality, and when banks or insurance companies were reluctant to accept their authority, despite presenting certification from the Public Guardian. The guide provides a checklist to follow in reaching key decisions and shows how the principles can be used by proxies to assert their authority. It signposts carers to futher information and where to find specialist help.
Jan Killeen, author of Dementia: making decisions and Policy Consultant at Alzheimer Scotland
Dementia:making decisions. A practical guide for family members, partners and friends with powers of attorney, guardianship or deputyship, is available free from Alzheimer Scotland: 24hr Freephone Dementia Helpline, on 0808 808 3000, or you can download a copy (pdf)