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06.04.16

New report stresses importance of dementia advisers for patients – Alzheimer’s Society

Every dementia patient should have a specialist adviser, the Alzheimer’s Society told PSE following a new Department of Health survey into the provision of services.

The report found that 91% of CCGs and local authorities surveyed had a dementia adviser service.

Services provided by dementia advisers include signposting to other services, training and advice for carers, and advocacy to help patients get services such as home adaptations.

George McNamara, head of integrated care at the Alzheimer’s Society, which provides 75% of adviser services, told PSE: “What this report shows is that dementia advisers are absolutely vital to help people with dementia to live well with the condition.”

McNamara said that commissioning dementia advisers saves health and social services money in the long run by reducing unnecessary hospital and care home admissions.

As part of its Right to Know campaign, the Alzheimer’s Society is calling for all patients to have access to dementia advisers, as well as for improved diagnosis rates and for all patients to receive a diagnosis within 10 weeks.

McNamara also said it was important to ensure that patients have the same adviser throughout the progression of their illness.

The report said that adviser services were jointly commissioned in 47% of cases, by 35% of CCGs and 67% of local authorities.

Local authorities and joint commissioners have a higher number of advisers. Local authorities have more than four advisers in 47% of cases, compared to 37% of CCGs, whilst 8% of joint commissioners, who cover a wider area, and just 2% of single commissioners have 10-14 advisers.

McNamara said that joint commissioning was “based around the needs of people with dementia, not around the needs of silos.”

Commissioning was more expensive on average for CCGs, with advisers costing £25,000 or over annually for 86% of CCGs compared to 67% of local authorities.

Areas in the south outside the capital were more likely to have more advisers than areas in the north and London, where 13 out of 16 commissioners had one to four dementia advisers. This could be due to the fact that joint commissioning is more common in the south, and that it was more expensive in London, with nine out of 16 commissioners saying that services cost over £35,000.

The north of England, however, had the highest case load, with an average of 186 patients for every adviser compared to 88 in London.

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