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National context for dementia services

Over the past decade national policy has continually recognised the need for improvements in dementia care and in particular the information and psychological support offered to people being given a diagnosis and their carer’s.  Policy has consistently recognised the need for people to have access to specialist assessment and an early diagnosis.  This was the main driver that saw the development of memory clinics. (National Service Framework2001, Audit Commission, Forget Me Not Report 2002) 

A major consultation of people with dementia, their carers and other stakeholders preceded the publication of The National Dementia Strategy (2009) and this has become the main policy driver within dementia.  It sets out the government’s commitment to individuals with dementia and their family carers ensuring high quality care and support, based on individual need and enabling people to live well with dementia. 

 Since then, recognising and knowing the person, not just the dementia has been a consistent message in subsequent national policies on dementia and more recently reports on the need to change the prevailing culture from ‘task’ to compassionate ‘relationships’.

The Prime Ministers “Challenge on Dementia” (2012) stressed the need to continue to drive the improvements laid out in the strategy.  The challenge is to ensure

“That every person gets the treatment and support which meets their needs and their life”