Agenda item

Dementia Care

To receive a report on the multi-agency services available for Dementia care in the City.


Louise Barnes (Eldertree), Kate Smith (Memory Matters), Sarah Carlson (UHP), Nicole Quinn (Livewell SW) and Emma Crowther (Interim Head of Commissioning) delivered a presentation on Dementia Care, and discussed-



a)     Dementia diagnosis were on the rise. It was estimated that by 2040, there would be over 5,000 people in Plymouth with dementia. A half of the population would be affected by dementia at some point in their lifetime;


b)    Symptoms of Dementia included memory loss, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and difficulty conducting everyday tasks, among others. There were more than 100 types of dementia;


c)     Following diagnosis, patients were automatically referred to the Livewell SW Dementia Advisor Service. There were currently 850 patients, with each reviewed at least twice a year;


d)    Memory Matters and Elder Tree were the predominant VCSE organisations in the city who provided Dementia support;


e)     Elder Tree supported over 200 people through weekly befriending groups and one to one sessions. There were also support groups for carers to allow ‘breathing space’, peer-support and respite;


f)      A significant challenge faced by the VCSE sector was the late-stage of referrals, with most patients presenting with moderate-severe symptoms. This was largely due to delays in attaining a Dementia diagnosis;


g)     Memory Matters was the only VCSE organisation in Plymouth with a sole focus on Dementia. Services were designed around peoples ‘lived-experience’, and time-limited funding had been secured from Livewell SW to provide and teach Cognitive Stimulation Therapy;


h)    Carer breakdown was a significant challenge, and it was therefore important that support and signposting was given to carers, as well as patients;


i)      One in four patients in an acute trust had Dementia. As part of the John’s Campaign, UHP had introduced numerous measures to provide Dementia friendly environments, as well as Dementia-aware care;


j)      The Plymouth Partnership Dementia Alliance brought partners across the city together to enable collaborative working, thinking and planning for current and future Dementia needs in the city;


k)     System challenges included high demand for services, delays for Dementia diagnosis, carer breakdown, and people waiting too long to seek support or advice;


l)      Funding had been attained to provide a pilot ‘waiting-well’ service, allowing patients access to support and advice while awaiting a Dementia diagnosis;


m)   While there was good Dementia care provision in Plymouth, funding and dementia diagnosis times were the primary concerns.


In response to questions, the board discussed-


n)    The role of Community Builders, and the lack of an “older person’s” representative;


o)    Partner connections;


p)    The development of a Devon Dementia Strategy;


q)    The role of the new Community Diagnostic Centre in reducing diagnosis waiting times;


r)     Communication of services and support;


s)     The recent Healthwatch survey of unpaid carers cross Devon, focussing on carer isolation and wellbeing.


The Board agreed-


1.     To Recommend to NHS Devon that options be explored to commission a dedicated older people’s Community Builder;


2.      To recommend that the Heathwatch Carers survey is shared with Dementia focussed VSCE organisations, to inform carer support;


3.     To recommend that a coherent communication strategy is developed for Dementia support;


4.     To recommend that Councillors become more aware of Dementia, and the support available;


5.     To note the report.


Supporting documents: