Gwent dementia patients to get better care

DEMENTIA patients in Gwent who require a spell in hospital are set to benefit from pledges by health bosses that ward staff will receive the training necessary to ensure dignity and respect is maintained at all times.

Commitment to the training agenda for dementia care is the latest step in developing services for a group of patients that is set to keep growing as the population ages.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board bosses agreed to an emphasis on such training, to be adopted Wales-wide, and which is being highlighted by Assembly health minister Edwina Hart as a key aspect of the vision for improving dementia services.

With around 37,000 in Wales living with dementia, Ms Hart said there are “significant consequences” for carers, health and social care, other public services and society more widely in helping looking after them.

A dedicated dementia helpline and website, a book prescription scheme to help people with dementia and their carers, and information packs for those diagnosed with dementia are among the developments in Wales in recent times, and Ms Hart is confident more is being, and can be, done.

And she praised the role of Extra Care schemes, housing projects with 24-hour cover for residents, but that enable the people who live in them to have a greater degree of independence than many other schemes offer.

Newport has blazed a trail with Extra Care schemes in Wales, with four up and running in the city, and other areas are developing them.

Across Wales there are 18 such schemes where more than 800 people live independently in their own living space, with a further 18 schemes being built or at an advanced stage of planning.

Ms Hart said close joint working between the NHS, local government, the voluntary sector and the Assembly must keep delivering improvements, which will be measurable in part through new dementia-focused targets designed to bring improvements in services to cut the time between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis, drive up quality of care in general hospital wards and dementia units, and improve the prescribing system for patients.