Dementia patients’ new champions

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ONE hundred dementia champions have started work across Scotland to help drive up standards of care for people with dementia.

The first wave of champions, including existing nurses, Allied Health Professionals and clinical managers, have been trained by the University of the West of Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland, and are working in hospitals across Scotland.

Alzheimer Scotland dementia specialist nurses are also being appointed in every health board across the country including NHS Borders.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has made a personal commitment for 2013 to introduce a new national post-diagnostic support target to ensure people with dementia receive the help they need following diagnosis.

The guarantee is the first of its kind in the world, and will ensure that all people newly diagnosed with dementia receive at least a year of person-centred post-diagnostic support, provided by a named person.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Providing the very best care for every older person on every occasion, in care homes and in hospitals continues to be a personal priority for me.

“Our new dementia champions and Alzheimer Scotland dementia specialist nurses are starting work in health boards across Scotland, and these key changes show just how much we prioritise older people’s care within Government and will mean that the dementia care provided by both NHS and social care staff will meet the highest possible standards.

“It is estimated that up to 82,000 people in Scotland have dementia and we expect that number to double over the next 25 years.

“The NHS and local authorities have to be well equipped to understand the care which people with dementia and their families are entitled to, in order to ensure that their dignity, independence and wishes are met.

“It is also vital that we focus on post-diagnostic support and that is why I have introduced this new national commitment. Getting the right support in place at this stage of the illness can greatly help improve the quality of care throughout the journey of the illness.”