09 January 2014
As a member of the Dementia Action Alliance, Helping Hands is a proud signatory of the National Dementia Declaration and works towards its goal. Helping Hands, a home care provider offering one-to-one support across England and Wales, has been supporting people living with Dementia for twenty-five years.
According to the NHS, Dementia currently affects around 800,000 people in the UK. With this figure set to increase to around one million people by 2021, it is evident that there is a growing need for the challenges faced by those living with the condition, their families, and their Carers to be addressed.
Facing these challenges head on, the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), made up of over 700 organisations including Helping Hands, is devoted to transforming the quality of life of people living with Dementia and their Carers. As part of this, they have signed up to a National Dementia Declaration.
According to the DAA’s official website, the Declaration, which has been created in partnership with people with Dementia and their Carers, explains the huge challenges that Dementia presents to society. It also explains some of the results that the DAA is striving to achieve for people with Dementia and their Carers.
As part of the Declaration, people living with Dementia and their family Carers have explained seven outcomes they hope to achieve in their lives, which include having personal choice, receiving a service designed according to individual needs, and feeling a sense of belonging.
Members of the DAA, including care associations, home care providers, government organisations and charities, are all committed to fulfilling these outcomes. In order to achieve this, each organisation is committed to several principles. These principles include working in partnership with other organisations to share best practice in Dementia, being an ambassador for the National Dementia Declaration, reporting publicly about progress, and improving understanding about Dementia.
On 20th November 2013, Melanie Dawson, Helping Hands Senior Registered Nurse Specialist, represented the home care provider at the DAA’s 2013 Annual Event. According to the DAA’s October 2013 Newsletter, the event intended to display member work to put people affected by Dementia at the centre.
Commenting on the challenges currently faced by people living with Dementia, Melanie explains, “Less than half of people living with Dementia have a diagnosis, which means they are unable to access the support required.”
The issues surrounding diagnosis were addressed by speakers and attendees of the Event, including Dr Charles Alessi, Chairman of the National Association of Primary Care, who released the report entitled ‘Benefits of Timely Dementia Diagnosis’. Current statistics on diagnosis proved somewhat alarming, with speakers at the event explaining that the diagnosis rate of Dementia stands at 48%.
In light of the low diagnosis rate, speakers suggested that diagnosis demands pre-diagnostic counselling and consent, cognitive assessment, increased communication, and psychosocial intervention in early and moderate Dementia. Importantly, speakers highlighted a need for high quality assessments, explaining that poor quality assessments are leading to poor diagnosis.
The issue of diagnosis was just one of several important matters raised at the DAA’s annual event. Melanie Dawson was particularly impressed by the informative discussion of person-centered care, which forms an essential part of the DAA’s Declaration and the services that Helping Hands provides.
Revealing current statistical information regarding Dementia care, speakers of the events explained that there are 550,000 family Carers of people living with Dementia.
Speakers of the event highlighted a need for ‘one named person with Dementia expertise.’ Personalisation, tailored advice, continued support, and acknowledgement that every care journey is unique are just some of the ways that Dementia support can be transformed according to speakers.
The issue of home care was also raised at the event, with speakers explaining that approximately two-thirds of people who have Dementia are currently living in the community. As a specialist home care provider, Helping Hands is committed to helping people live well at home with Dementia.
This proves an increasingly important aim in light of reports highlighted by the DCC. One of the points listed on the DAA’s official website explaining why there is a need for a Declaration states: ‘Reports from regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and its predecessor the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), show that although there are examples of excellent Dementia care in care homes, many providers are struggling to deliver quality of life for people in the later stages of the condition.’
In order to rectify this, members of the DAA like Helping Hands are offering continuous tailored support focused on promoting independent living and improving quality of life throughout every stage of Dementia. According to speakers at the event, the Carers involved in this pursuit of high quality support require recognition, access to experts, and confidence in their abilities.
To Helping Hands, committed and well-supported Carers are at the very heart of excellent Dementia care. With award winning training, ongoing support from a dedicated Dementia Specialist and a local point of contact, Helping Hands ensures Carers feel completely prepared and can offer the best support possible to those living with Dementia.
Alongside other members of the DAA, Helping Hands is wholly committed to changing perceptions of Dementia and contributing to the transformation of understanding, diagnosis and care now and in the future.