Every health board in Scotland now has a dedicated dementia expert, it was announced today.
The 14 Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurses will lead on driving up standards and improving the quality of life for people with dementia, their carers and families within general hospitals.
The introduction of the posts is a jointly funded initiative between Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Government to imbed best practice into every element of patient care.
They will support the existing nurses, Allied Health Professionals and clinical managers who have already become Dementia Champions to train, educate and support other healthcare staff to understand the needs of people with dementia.
Cabinet Secretary of Health, Alex Neil, said:
“Having had a personal experience of a family member with dementia I know how important it is that they get the dignified care they deserve.
“That’s why I’m delighted that Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultants have been appointed in every health board area. This will help to ensure that our NHS is delivering the type of care that we all expect.
“As we plan appropriate services for an ageing population I welcome the visible improvements in the care for people with dementia we are already seeing as a result of these new posts. It proves that much more can be achieved over the coming years.
“In addition, we have made the guarantee that, from next April, all people newly diagnosed with dementia will be entitled to at least a year of post-diagnostic support, coordinated by a link worker.
“This is a world first commitment and will lead to significant improvements in the ability of people to live well with dementia for as long as is possible.”
Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, Henry Simmons, said:
“Alzheimer Scotland has long campaigned for real and demonstrable improvements in acute care for people with dementia.
“Completing these appointments is another significant milestone in our attempt to ensure that people with dementia and their families within general hospitals are treated with the utmost dignity and respect at all times.
“Along with the other strategic investments in the Dementia Care Standards, Promoting Excellence Framework and the Dementia Champions, we can expect to see a rapid improvement in the overall quality of care.
“We are very pleased that the National Dementia Strategy has highlighted acute care as a priority area and we are extremely pleased that the Scottish Government is now jointly funding these crucial positions.
“However, this is only the start of what will be a significantly challenging future for NHS Boards as our population ages and more people with dementia will require care.
“NHS Boards must make the best possible use of our nurse consultants to deliver real change for people – now and in the future.”