People with dementia will be denied specialist care until dementia is treated as an illness, a government advisor has said today (Wednesday 26 May). Professor Martin Green who is also Chief Executive of charity, Care England, said that dementia is only being treated in this way because it is a disease which affects older people. He added that that people with dementia and their families shouldn’t have to pay thousands for treatment from their own pockets, when other conditions had their funding covered by the NHS.
Currently, although dementia is classified as a physical illness of the brain, most of the essential care is provided by social services. This means people with dementia have to be means tested for social care funding. Professor Green was speaking at a day on cognitive impairment and dementia at PJ Care’s Eagle Wood Neurological Care Centre in Peterborough.
Alzheimer’s Society comment:
‘It is important to recognise that dementia is an illness caused by diseases of the brain. However, the essential care needs of people with the condition – such as help with getting dressed and washing – are often more social than medical.
‘The system as it stands often fails people with dementia- what we need is reform which integrates health and social care. This can only be achieved by addressing the crisis in funding and looking at innovative ways to commission health and social care services together. If we fail to make these changes people with dementia will continue to face soaring care costs for years to come and miss out on the specialist support they need and deserve.’
Head of Policy & Public Affairs