NCAS conference: Dementia care ‘must be integrated’

Health and social services must work together more effectively in dementia care, a leading patient expert told the National Children and Adult Services Conference yesterday.

Peter Ashley, who has dementia and is an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, said he wanted to see a “care community” supporting people with dementia.

Health versus social care

But speaking at the annual social services conference in Liverpool, he added: “I don’t want to see a ‘health community’ versus a ‘social care community’ but I regret to say that I still see this.”

Ashley said community mental health teams embodied an attempt to improve matters but “this was not working”. He added: “The parties concerned are pre-conditioned to work in their individual ways.”

He said following a recent cataract operation he had asked a care worker at his day centre to put some drops in his eye, adding: “But she said ‘I’m not allowed to do that’. What a disastrous situation.”

Glass curtain

Barbara Pointon, a prominent Alzheimer’s campaigner and carer, who chaired the session, said: “One sees a glass curtain between health and social care. In my book care is care is care.”

She said dementia was an “ideal candidate for a fully integrated service”.

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services vice-president Jenny Owen, the joint lead on the government’s dementia strategy for England, said joint working would be a key part of the strategy, due next month.

She added: “One of the key drivers will be a joint commissioning strategy.”

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