I hope this update finds you safe and well, and you’re all beginning to enjoy the benefits of the recently relaxed restrictions.
I wanted to focus this month’s update on our Fair Dementia Care campaign which was, and remains, one of the most significant campaigns in Alzheimer Scotland’s history. You can read more about the background to the campaign here.
People with advanced dementia, and their families, are on the receiving end of substantial inequalities; something the pandemic has only served to highlight. For many people with dementia, and their families, the decision to move to a care home is one of the most difficult decisions that will ever be made. On top of having to make this decision the processes, including a financial assessment, are often incredibly complex and variable.
There are apparent differences in the experience of someone with advanced dementia compared to someone with another life-limiting disease, such as cancer. It is simply not fair that people with advanced dementia are having to pay for their care, because their needs are not recognised as health care needs. As Chief Executive of Scotland’s leading dementia charity, I have never been surer that we must do all we can to end this inequity.
During the Scottish Parliamentary Election campaign, we’ve been asking our members and supporters to contact their candidates and ask them to pledge a commitment to deliver Fair Dementia Care for people with advanced dementia. We are immensely grateful to everyone who took the time to do this, and in turn to those candidates who committed to ensuring that every person with advanced dementia, living in a care home, has an individual assessment of their health and nursing care needs, and to supporting an increase in Free Personal and Nursing Care payments to a level which is equal to the actual cost of the care people with advanced dementia need. We also welcome the commitments set out across some of the Party manifestos.
We know our pledge asks – albeit critical – will not bring an end to all of the inequities people with advanced dementia are facing. Our frontline staff and volunteers frequently hear about the disparities between the care people with advanced dementia face in comparison to people with other progressive and life-limiting illnesses. We will not rest until there is a Scotland where dementia care is truly fair.
We fully endorsed the recommendation in the Independent Review of Adult Social Care around establishing a National Care Service. We believe this to be a progressive step forward, and Alzheimer Scotland’s campaigning focus over the forthcoming months will be to develop our understanding of what this should, and could, look like for people with dementia and their families and carers.
Thank you to each and every individual who has backed our Fair Dementia Care campaign so far. Your support is invaluable. As always, if you need any information or emotional support please contact our 24 hour Freephone Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000.