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Dementia strategy doomed

30th January 2008

Yvonne Roberts fears the forthcoming national dementia plan may be doomed to failure.

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The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee is asking for a dementia tsar to push ahead improvements in care after comparing the way people with dementia are looked after today as matching the levels of care cancer patients faced half a century ago.

While early diagnosis and intervention makes a significant difference, the majority of dementia patients are seen as a drain on NHS resources, as patients for which there is very little that can be done to improve their lives.

The Department of Health is developing a national dementia strategy but that will be implemented into an NHS system where “the language of caring…is being transformed into the language of efficiency and cost.?

It also coincides with a generation that is less willing to discuss or prepare for the realities of growing old and dying.

Several commentators have looked at the issue of getting old and the treatment of dementia sufferers in care homes.

There is very little to commend that treatment. That sees some sufferers treated as no more than “lumps of meat?, with little in terms of acknowledgement or respect and those dying of dementia often left unattended.

And when there is a success story, funding is withdrawn because while it provided “qualitative help? that was not regarded as an indicator of money being spent effectively and efficiently.

The forthcoming national dementia strategy will fail unless it addresses the “attitudes and taboos that mould the treatment of those with dementia.?

 

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