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01/06/14 12:28

Investing in dementia training

Support for ‘world-leading’ diagnosis and treatment.

Scotland’s “world-leading” approach to dementia care is being supported by an additional £500,000 investment in education and training for front-line staff.

The number of Dementia Champions working in Scotland’s hospitals and social care settings will rise to over 600 thanks to £120,000 over the next two years.

A further £360,000 has been pledged for Alzheimer Scotland's Specialist Dementia Nurses over the next three years. This is in addition to £1.2 million joint investment for Alzheimer’s Scotland nurses over the last three years.

This commitment to improve the dementia work-force supports Scotland’s strong performance on diagnosis compared to other areas of the UK; our post-diagnostic support for people newly diagnosed which is recognised as world-leading; and our national action plan to improve hospital care.

Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said:

“We know timely diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for dementia is vital, and I’m proud that Scotland is leading the way on this.

“However, it is equally important that everyone in Scotland with dementia receives safe, effective care at all stages of the illness and in all care settings – at home, in hospital and in residential care. We want to support more people to live well in their own homes for longer and we are working with services across Scotland to support this aim.

“Dementia Champions and Specialist Dementia Nurses have a vital role to play in transforming the way we treat dementia, enabling more people to have supported self-management at home for longer. We are also working towards less hospital admissions and later admissions into long-term care.

“We are committed to transforming dementia services with a range of other activity in our current Dementia Strategy. I am confident that, with the continued support, professionalism and hard work of all those involved, we will continue to improve care and provide better support for people in our communities living with dementia.”

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said:

“We are delighted by this substantial and significant further investment in both the Dementia Champions and the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurses. The work of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurses and the Dementia Champions has made an extremely important contribution to improving the experiences of people with dementia and their carers in our hospitals.

“Scotland is leading the way in developing innovative educational frameworks and improvement methodologies. This is evidenced by the improved diagnosis rates in Scotland compared to the test of the UK.

“It is also underpinned by the commitment to the one year Post Diagnostic Support guarantee and the 10-point plan of key actions for hospitals. These are two area of focus that are vital to our members and to everyone living with dementia in Scotland. The investment and dedicated focus in these two areas is extremely encouraging.”

Notes to editors

Scotland's dementia diagnosis rates were approximately 20 per cent higher than those in England and Wales, figures from 2012-2013 found.

The £1.2 million investment for training of Alzheimer’s Scotland nurses in 2011 was provided by Alzheimer’s Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Scotland's national post-diagnostic guarantee for everyone newly diagnosed has been described by Alzheimer Scotland as “world-leading”. It guarantees a minimum of a year's worth of dedicated post-diagnostic support provided by an appropriately skilled and trained Link Worker.

Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Nurses are driving change and improvement across their NHS Board areas. They will work with Dementia Champions to lead front-line improvements in dementia care and ensure dementia-related information and education is provided for other staff.

To date, the Dementia Champions programme has prepared more than 400 staff from a range of disciplines in acute care hospitals and associated social services settings to:

  • lead front-line improvements in dementia care
  • sustain change in their area
  • cascade information and education about dementia to other staff

Specialist Dementia Nurses have been appointed in every NHS Board in Scotland. These nurses:

  • lead the creation and development of an organisational dementia services steering group comprising representatives of senior staff in positions to lead and support change, and relevant external partners
  • act as a source of expertise to staff supporting and caring for people with dementia in acute hospital care who are not in contact with psychiatric services; work with key senior staff in Accident and Emergency Departments to raise understanding of dementia and provide dementia-specific clinical expertise
  • support Dementia Champions and raise dementia knowledge and skills for multidisciplinary teams in acute hospitals