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Devon authorities are working hard with partners to improve services for people with dementia and their carers

Posted on 24th May, 2012

Devon County Council recently announced plans to invest £11.2 million redevelopment programme to create up to ten centres of excellence for people with dementia, that will include residential, day care and respite services. Their plans will create around 300 specialist bed spaces for dementia residents, helping to address Devon’s immediate shortage in this specific type of care. Across Devon, primary care staff in 66 GP practices have so far received the latest training to help them recognise dementia and give their patients really good support and advice. Figures show a correlation in the increasing numbers of practices receiving training, and a four-fold rise numbers of people being referred for more specialist help. NHS Devon, Devon County Council and Devon Partnership NHS Trust are continuing to improve access to dementia care, making it easier and quicker for people to get the care they need. In Devon’s community hospitals, ongoing work to improve dementia care is underway, and Devon Partnership (NHS) Trust’s new inpatient facilities for dementia care are proving a success. And plans by the County Council to develop the first of a number of extra care housing developments – homes that will enable people, including people with dementia, to have their independence while having 24 hour a day care available to them – are well underway. Meanwhile, memory cafes are also going from strength to strength, giving people with dementia and their carers a supportive environment in which to share their experiences and useful information.  37 memory cafes across Devon are now in operation, and many are planning to hold more frequent meetings. Cllr Stuart Barker, the County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for adult social care said: “Devon has one of the highest proportions of older people within its population of all UK counties.  We expect an increase in the number of people in Devon with dementia from around 12,000 people now to around 17,000 by 2021. “We and Devon’s health authorities are investing now in services that will continue to meet the growing demand in future, and provide greater support for carers. “The Government’s announcement this year to double the research budget for dementia care, and to encourage creation of 20 dementia-friendly communities, is also welcomed, and is a clear indication that this disease is on the government’s own agenda.” Doctor Nick Cartmell, GP at Ashburton Surgery and NHS Devon lead for dementia care, said: “We are seeing some very exciting changes to dementia care in Devon, not least a real change in the way GPs are managing people with memory problems and dementia, but also improvements to the support people will be able to access if they have dementia or care for someone with dementia. “However, there is still much to be done, particularly around improving society-wide attitudes towards dementia. “Therefore I also call on the public, local communities, businesses and families to learn about dementia and what they can do to help people with dementia ‘live well’ with it for as long as possible.” Click here for original news item.