We explore the key points from the lastest report ”Worst hit: dementia during coronavirus” from the Alzheimer’s Society, published in September 2020. The full report is available below, along with some useful information about support provided by the Alzheimer’s Society.
Facts in numbers
13,840 deaths of people with Dementia involving COVID-19 in England and Wales – March to June
5,049 increase deaths for non COVID-19 was in people with dementia – 4th Jan to 10th July
850,000 People living with dementia in the UK, although diagnosis dropped by 63.2% during the COVID lockdown.
People with dementia are estimated to make up at least 70% of care home residents and over 60% of home care recipients
Above all, The Alzheimer’s Society report covers the harrowing impact that dementia suffers are facing through the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Over a quarter (27.5%) of people who died with COVID-19 had dementia, which clearly shows the disproportionate impact on dementia sufferers. Furthermore, the number of expected deaths from dementia sufferers doubled when compared with the 5-year average.
The Alzheimer’s Society has been successful in its campaign for a government inquiry into social care for dementia sufferers, however, this will take time.
Therefore, more decisive action is required by the UK Government to reduce the current impact COVID is having on dementia patients.
Action for Winter 2020/21
The action recommended by the report is outlined in 4 key elements:
- Firstly, the provision of regular and timely testing and PPE must be in place for care providers and care homes. Therefore, the responsibility for this sits with the NHS and local authorities, ensuring an equal footing with other NHS sectors. A critical component for success will be the needs assessment with clear lines of accountability for action.
- Secondly, the UK Government must reinstate care that has stopped due to COVID as soon as it is deemed safe, particularly domiciliary care.
- Thirdly, the current Infection Control Fund must remain in place until at least April 2021 and allow for fund flexibly.
- Finally, the UK Government must provide clear, consistent, and straightforward communication to the dementia population.
Informal carers are a vital part of the care system for sufferers of dementia, therefore, without the recognition from decisions makers across all levels this support could be adversely affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
- One informal carer per home resident to be a designated key worker, with access to training, COVID-19 testing/vaccinations and PPE.
- Assessments and provision of short breaks for carers.
- Local/health authority data on carer assessments and respite care.
Care Homes Visits
Due to covid-19 restrictions and social distancing measures, alternative solutions should be put in place to facilitate visits from loved ones. Similarly, they must be required to notify the CQC about restrictions in place.
However, a clear strategy is required to help rehabilitate dementia sufferers from the mental and physical effects of the pandemic.
Re-open Assessment Facilities
A clear recovery is required to ensure assessment centres can reopen. In other words, reducing the backlog of assessments otherwise diagnosis rates are going to continue to fall drastically.
The Alzheimer’s Society
The Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity, above all, they campaign for change, fund research and support people living with dementia today.
The Full Report here
Explainer Video – Alzhiemer’s Strategy 2018
- National Dementia Helpline – You can call their helpline on 0300 222 11 22. It is open seven days a week providing information, advice and emotional support to anyone affected by dementia.
- Talking Point – their online community is a place where you can ask questions, share experiences and get information. There are also practical tips on living with dementia. It’s free to use, open 24 hours a day and all you need is an internet connection.
- Find support near you – their comprehensive directory allows you to find advice and information support services. Simply enter your postcode or location.
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