A national charity has called on the Scottish Government for more support for dementia patients.
Alzheimer Scotland, which supports those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s, said many services have been disrupted this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
It has moved many services online, and has also been calling those it usually supports face-to-face to ensure that people are retaining their normal weekly interactions, which they would have gotten in the charity’s resource centres.
Services for those diagnosed with dementia have been put on hold since March, and some only began to resume again at the end of September.
Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership said the delivery of post-diagnostic support was integral to its delivery of care, and aims to provide a blended approach to patients.
Jim Pearson, director of Policy and Research at Alzheimer Scotland said: “For people with dementia and their families a timely diagnosis and high quality personalised post-diagnosis support from a named dementia link worker is critical.
“It can help them to live well for longer in their own homes and communities, and makes better use of public funds by reducing unnecessary admissions to hospital or care homes. Since the beginning of the global pandemic many services have been disrupted and thousands of people who have recently been diagnosed have not been able to access or receive the full benefit of the Scottish Government’s post-diagnostic guarantee.
“Even before this pandemic struck fewer than half of those diagnosed with dementia were being offered it. That simply isn’t good enough. Greater investment to deliver this crucial guarantee to everyone who needs it is even more important now if people with dementia are to be supported to recover from the impact of this pandemic and to meet the existing post-diagnostic support commitments.
“Alzheimer Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to establish a dedicated post-diagnostic support fund to double the numbers of dementia post-diagnostic link workers and support local areas, who have significant waiting lists and substantial funding pressures, to deliver this crucial support.”
Calls have been made for further dementia support.North-east Scottish Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said the extent of the people who have been affected by the halting of support is yet to be fully appreciated, and has joined Alzheimer Scotland’s call for further support.
He said: “We need to see a new focus and vision to support the increasing number of people in the north-east and Scotland living with dementia.
“Through no fault of social care partnerships, Covid halted post-diagnosis support completely.
“That moved the onus on to families and communities – extremely difficult for those living alone.
“We have yet to fully appreciate how many Scots living with dementia have been affected by that.
“Letting them fall through the cracks and end up in hospital care isn’t acceptable and it just isn’t possible when the SNP government have cut dementia care beds by more than a third.
“This isn’t the first time they’ve had to be dragged to help those in need.
“Scottish Conservatives forced Ministers to adopt Frank’s Law, to deliver free personal care for all with life-limiting conditions.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We continue to work intensively with our stakeholders in response the full range of issues for people with dementia and their carers during the pandemic.
“Since March we have taken forward a wide range of actions including additional helpline support, support for people with dementia shielding, hospital guidance, the retention and safe re-opening of dementia day services and the dementia-proofing of care homes clinical guidance.
“To build on this, we are engaging with stakeholders including Alzheimer Scotland on a dementia/Covid-19 Recovery and Transition Plan which we anticipate will be published before the end of this year.
“Local health and social care partnerships are responsible for delivering dementia post-diagnostic services from overall allocations. Estimated overall annual public spend on dementia was £1.2 billion in 2019 – an increase of 34 per cent since 2014.”