I love my work, I do. I enjoy talking with people with dementia and their families, and trying to offer reassurance, explanations, guidance through the system; a hand to hold, a listening ear and a smile when they are often at their most anxious.
However, there is an increasing frustration that I feel, and almost a helplessness. The resources are not there. You can see exactly what people need – sometimes it’s something as simple as a visit to check they’ve taken their tablets and eaten their dinner. But they can wash and dress themselves, so they’re not eligible for Social Services provision. They need night care. Not provided. They need someone to take them so that they can do their own shopping. Company. Social contact and appropriate occupation. Respite for carers that meets the needs of the individuals. Out of Hours support from mental health services. Services appropriate for younger adults with dementia and their families. Support after diagnosis (currently, locally, people diagnosed with dementia are kept on the Memory Clinic caseload for 3months – assessment-diagnosis-prescription-discharge). Services which can avert crises, which will keep people at home for longer. Individuals waiting in acute hospital beds for assessment for discharge planning; waiting while their mental and physical states deteiorate.
I could go on, believe me, but I’m sure that’s enough for now.
Other areas have better support networks.
And it’s all down to money. Post code lotteries should not exist in 2016, but with the fragmentation of the NHS and Social Care, different CCGs have different priorities.
Shouldn’t we all be playing the same game, with the same goal?
And don’t people with dementia and their carers deserve the highest quality care and support, no matter where they live?