Dementia care programme rolled out

A commitment that will “significantly improve” the care of dementia patients has now come into effect.

People with the disease will be cared for by a named support worker who will tailor individual treatment and help families understand it.

It is part of the government`s national dementia strategy with 300 carers working with patients from April. The commitment is based on advice from Alzheimer Scotland who want to improve care standards.

Since November, 14 Alzheimer Scotland dementia nurses have been working in each of the country`s health boards to improve the quality of life for people with the condition, as well as their carers and families, within hospitals.

Up to 86,000 people are estimated to have dementia in Scotland, and the number is expected to double over the next 25 years, according to the government.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “From personal experience, I know what it means to have family members with dementia get the dignified care they deserve.”

A current patient who took part in a trial of the care programme said the commitment is “brilliant news”. Henry Rankin, from East Renfrewshire, said he felt isolated when first diagnosed with vascular dementia and struggled to come to terms with the illness.

“It was dreadful, absolutely dreadful,” he said. “There’s no other way to describe it. I didn’t even know what vascular dementia was. I thought it was all over, that I had six months left to live.”

Mr Rankin was then asked to take part in a pilot of the Alzheimer Scotland programme and was cared for by Tracy Gilmour. He said: “I can’t praise Tracy highly enough, she put me at my ease straight away. She reassured me, gave me my confidence back. Getting my diagnosis had knocked the wind right out my sails, but she got me back on track. She spoke to my family too, gave them lots of information and advice.

“Best thing was; she was always there. We could speak to her at any time.”