Alzheimer Scotland comment on the case of Jeanette Maitland, whose husband received 106 carers over one year
No one should have to go through the experience that Jeanette Maitland and her late husband faced. Unjustifiably frequent changes of support and care staff are simply not acceptable in any circumstance, particularly where dementia is concerned, and we must learn some very quick lessons from this terrible situation.
There are around 84,000 people living with dementia in Scotland. This number is expected to double within a generation. On average there are 238 people with dementia living in each council ward; plus the family, carers and friends of each person living with the illness.
Dementia is an illness which is not a normal part of growing old. One in three people will die with dementia. There is no cure and there are only four drugs available to treat this illness, none of which can stop its progression. Dementia is a terminal condition in which the majority of the interventions that help treat the disease and hold people’s lives together is delivered or commissioned by local authorities. Dementia is much more than a social care need: it is a complex illness with a challenging disease process which requires the support of stakeholders from public, private and voluntary sector providers of social care, health and housing across every community inScotland.
Human intervention is the main way we can tackle and treat dementia. This can only be provided by skilled staff who understand the complex nature of the illness and who can provide interventions that deal with symptoms and support people and their families to live well with dementia.
We ask local authorities to:
- protect dementia-specific carer support services
- protect dementia-specific home care and care at home
- protect small scale dementia-specific day services
- support investment in alternatives to residential care services
- support investment in high quality small scale residential care services
- ensure people with dementia have access to self-directed support and equitable individual budgets
- not retender any support unless agreed by the person or their carer
- develop a local dementia investment strategy in order to prepare for the increased growth
- involve people with dementia and their carers in the development of local plans
- support the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy
- support the implementation of one year’s post-diagnostic support for every person diagnosed and their family.
Scotland is at the forefront of public policy in dementia. In 2009, the Scottish Government made dementia a national priority, and we have an excellent National Dementia Strategy. But we are at a crossroads in dementia care. If we take the wrong route it will have disastrous consequences for the growing number of people with dementia, for their families, and for Scotland.