People with dementia are not receiving the care review they are entitled to

Only half of those using social care services received a planned last year and this was less for people with dementia

Published on 17th July 2019

Accessing social care services is not always easy for people with dementia, a report by Healthwatch England has warned.

Information is not always presented in an accessible format and the specialist service required may not be available to difficult to access, the report on dementa care adds.

"Last year more than 9,000 people share their experiences of social care with Healthwatch, including the countless barriers to accessing and finding support," said Imelda Redmond, CBE, of Healthwatch England.

"For people with dementia these barries can be even greater. Only 8% of the feedback we hear about dementia care is positive. What people tell us is that services are not equipped to meet their needs and staff are not trained to deliver the care that they need," she said.

"The NHS and social care can be confusing to navigate and the divide between the two can impact people with dementia more than most," she added.

Dementia is a degenerative condition, which affects how people understand and engage with the world. There are many types of dementia but what they have in common is that there is no known cure and it worsens over time.

Under the Care Act 2014, people who use long-term social care services should receive at least one review of their care plan each year to ensure they have the right care and support.

However, the report found:

- Fewer than half of people with dementia who use social care are getting the regular care reviews they are entitled to.

- Only half of those using social care services received a planned last year and this was less for people with dementia (45%)

- One quarter of people with dementia had an unplanned care review last year due to an emergency or sudden change in circumstances.

- 65% of people with dementia who had a review were referred for a full reassessment.
However, half of these reassessments led to no change in the level of care and support.

"This is concerning and may suggest that professionals are either inconsistently interpreting the eligibility criteria or incorrectlt referring people for a reassessment," said the report.

The report recommends that councils should ensure that everyone with a dementia diagnosis with eligible support needs in lin with the Care Act guidance has a care plan in place which should be subject to one planned review each year.

Local authorities and social care providers should provide information and advice during the care planning and assessment process in a clear, accessible format in line with NICE guidelines.

Local authorities should take steps to implement and evidence the use of care plan monitoring systems. Further, the Department for Health and Social Care should review national eligibility criteria thresholds and how consistently they are being used.

Councils should also routinely collect data on care reviews and outcomes on a service user level broken down by primary support reason, including dementia, for NHs Digital to report nationally.

Julie Ogley, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said: “We’d like to thank Healthwatch England for their report into dementia care and recommendations. We recognise that dementia is a condition which can deteriorate quickly and that this can have a significant impact on the people concerned and their families.

“The Care Act is good legislation and sets out principles and practice we all support. It’s deeply regrettable that reviews and re-assessments of individuals’ circumstances are not being completed in a timely and responsive way and that care is sometimes not of a high quality. We will highlight the report to our members.

“However it is clear from the report, and our recently published Budget Survey, that councils are now almost universally struggling to meet some of the requirements of the Care Act. With this in mind, we’re calling on the Government to stabilise funding immediately and then provide sustainable funding for adult social care. This will help councils to stabilise local social care systems, so they’re better able to meet the needs of their residents," she concluded.

Why it's important to review the care of people with dementia

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