Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Age With Confidence and tackle dementia in West Sussex

Countywide services are helping tackle the growing problem of dementia.

A recent survey by the Department of Health found that six out of ten people with dementia in England go undiagnosed – meaning almost 400,000 people could be going without the vital support the NHS and social care services can offer.

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith said: “Our Age With Confidence initiative aims to help people prepare for old age and to know where to go for information and advice. We want to make sure people are confident in preparing for and living well in old age.

“In West Sussex we have a range of dementia services, aimed at helping people with all stages of dementia. We’re planning on introducing more and in particular to encourage early diagnosis.”

People are living longer – by 2020 half the population in the UK will be aged 50 or over, and the prevalence of dementia doubles with every five year increase in age. In West Sussex, the number of older people continues to increase at a higher rate than nationally. Age With Confidence will work to ensure that people can adapt to the changes this will bring in society.

Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services Peter Catchpole said: “Under Age With Confidence, the County Council will work with our partners in the NHS to support early diagnosis of problems, such as dementia, raising awareness and making sure there is better coordination of services.”

West Sussex County Council and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust already provide a range of dementia services including:

·          Dementia Crisis Teams. Three integrated health and social care teams (North, Coastal and West), that provide up to 72 hours crisis intervention for a person with dementia or their carer in order to avoid a hospital admission and keep people in familiar surroundings. A period of six weeks ongoing care is also provided to minimise the risk of a crisis recurring.
·          Mental Health Liaison. A team of nurses in hospitals who provide support to general medical staff caring for people with dementia. They care plan, do assessments and help facilitate discharge to community teams. They also provide training to hospital staff in the care of people with dementia.
·          Care Home Inreach. A team of nurses and occupational therapists who work with care homes to help avoid hospital admission. They also support care homes who need extra help with caring for a person whose needs may have changed. They train care home staff and, together with GPs, undertake medication reviews.
·          Shared Care Ward at Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath. The ward provides specialist care for people with dementia who have been admitted with a physical illness or injury.
·          Specialist dementia case leads. The coastal area team works with people in their own homes to care plan and assess needs for people with more complex forms of dementia.
·          Dementia care mapping. Staff are trained to sit with the person being cared for over a period of several hours to try and see the world as the person sees it. The ‘mapper’ records what seems to make the person happy or sad and this is fed back to staff caring for the person so they have a better idea of how to look after them.
·          HOPE. A group of people who have direct experience of a variety of dementias. The group helps develop the learning and training of social care staff and students in the county, so they learn directly the impact dementia has on both the person and the carer.

Neil Waterhouse, Service Director at Sussex Partnership, said: “Working alongside our partners in West Sussex, we are now delivering some of the most effective services for people with dementia and their carers. We are proud to be part of Age With Confidence and we will continue to work hard to support people with dementia and to deliver an excellent service.”

If anyone has any problems with their memory, they should visit their GP in the first instance.

In a survey for the Department for Health, around a third of adults aged over 40 agreed that they understood the differences between normal signs of ageing and signs of dementia, and close to a third of adults aged over 40 thought there was no support available for people with dementia.

The National Audit Office estimates that nationally dementia costs health and social care services £8.2 billion per year. Alzheimer’s Research UK have estimated that the overall cost of dementia to society as a whole is £23 billion per annum. It is estimated that savings of £80 million could be made every year by improving hospital care for people with dementia.

To find out more, visit the Department of Health website at www.dh.gov.uk