Cases of dementia are on the rise. Around 700,000 people in England have the disease currently, and this figure is expected to increase to over a million by 2025.
Since the beginning of 2015, more than 1,000 people across the country have spoken to local Healthwatch about their experiences of dementia care - from the help provided by GPs to the support offered through hospitals and social care
Local Healthwatch have also visited more than 120 care homes. They’ve spoken to patients themselves, as well as those providing support, such as care home staff and family carers, to find out what’s working well, and what could be improved.
What did people tell local Healthwatch?
Whilst in most cases people found care to be compassionate and considerate, there were also things that could be better. Although the exact findings varied from area to area, local Healthwatch found that those they spoke to wanted to see improvements in three main areas.
The availability and type of information regarding services and support following diagnosis helps to set the tone for the experiences of those with dementia and their carers.
Support for carers is not always as clearly signposted or explained as it could be.
Dementia awareness and education is improving amongst both professionals and the public, however, some GPs are unable to spot when patients have dementia.
Specialist services for people with dementia, like memory cafes, are said to be very good, but are not always accessible to those who would most benefit from using them.
More generally, many people felt that the quality of services themselves was inconsistent, sometimes within the same locality.
More work needs to be done to make public spaces dementia-friendly by improving elements such as lighting and signage.
Find out more
We have published a briefing which summarises what people told local Healthwatch about their experiences, including recommendations from the network for improvements.