Ethnic dementia care has stagnated

Organisations providing dementia care for people from ethnic
minorities are being left without the support they need to improve
services, a leading expert in the sector has warned.

Olivia Nuamah, community development manager for dementia
organisation Care Needs for Ethnic Older Persons with Alzheimer’s,
said that hundreds of specialist organisations were available to
provide dementia services to particular ethnic minority

But she said that while these organisations had often been
providing services for years and were generally highly respected
within the local community, they were being left behind and “kind
of falling apart”.

Nuamah told the Laing & Buisson conference in London last week:
“These organisations deliver services – and they are good services
to a certain point. But they never move further than that because
they lack organisational support.”

She said social services would often draw up service level
agreements, and then leave dementia services for that particular
ethnic minority to an organisation with no follow-up support. This
resulted in services becoming more outdated and less responsive to
the needs of service users.

“These organisations are still delivering the same service they
were in 1975, because they have not had the support they need to
develop,” Nuamah said.

“But these organisations are in no position to understand why
developing policy is important. They tend to provide mainstream
services to specific client groups, and they really can’t see much
beyond their noses,” she added.

Nuamah called for social services to recognise the need for
investment in these organisations to encourage them to review the
services they provide, build capacity and start looking at what
other providers were doing.

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