Advisers start helping dementia patients navigate system

The first specialist advisers appointed to help people with dementia and their families navigate the care and support system in England are due to start work today.

The advisers have been set up in 22 pilot sites across the country to provide a point of contact for all those with dementia and their carers. The new role was put forward in the Department of Health’s national dementia strategy, published in February this year.

Dementia advisers can be employed by voluntary and community organisations or by early diagnosis and intervention dementia services.

In addition, 18 further sites will test out innovative ways of providing emotional support to people with dementia and their carers, including social networking via “dementia cafes”. Several of the sites will also concentrate on including hard-to-reach minority groups, such as those with learning disabilities.

Hope predicts ‘real change’

Care services minister Phil Hope said that the initiative would instigate “real change” to the lives of people with dementia.

He added: “Dementia advisers will be there for them when they need help, from diagnosis onwards. This project will test different support methods so we can see what families respond to best. After that, I want to see dementia advisers start taking up post all around the country.”

Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Neil Hunt said: “Today marks the beginning of an exciting period of transformation in dementia care as we begin to see the promises of the national dementia strategy put into action.”

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