The recommendations of a new report United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd (UKHCA) focus on what is needed to ensure that people living with dementia can live safely at home and maximise their independence.
What does the report recommend to help the sector turn identified instances of good practice into normal practice?
- Champion homecare as the key facilitator of dementia care and information
- Deliver a personalised approach focused on outcomes for the individual & their family
- Give greater flexibility for homecare providers to innovate and shape care with and for the individual
- Recognise and realise the value of homecare to reduce risk and lessen the negative impact of dementia progression
- Prioritise homecare as a cost effective form of intervention
- Ensure sufficient time to deliver the care people with dementia need, in the way they want
- Develop consistent and reliable homecare services and training
- Help providers to implement with technology
- Develop research on care, as well as cure
Dementia is high up on the governments' agendas around the world. Health department policies are driving doctors to make diagnosis earlier and earlier, as people with a diagnosis are able to access timely support.
There are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the United Kingdom and this number is estimated to rise to over 1,000,000 by 2021. People use the term dementia to mean a lot of things. Dementia is much more than a memory problem, so the more you know the better. A range of diseases can cause changes to the brain that cause dementia symptoms, the most common is Alzheimer’s disease. Reducing the risk of dementia and creating policies to tackle risk factors such as physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and having a poor diet are crucial to prevention and reduction.
What is the case for homecare?
UKHCA estimate that 60% of people using their service have some form of dementia and many have not had a diagnosis, while another study highlighted that 85% of people wanted to remain in their own home, half of which do so alone. We all love our homes and we spend many years getting them the way we want, so why would you leave it when you’re not feeling right?
Regular care workers are important, as they are in an ideal position to identify any changes, or observe other symptoms that may require interventions, such as worsening in dementia symptoms, which may have physical causes such as a urinary tract infection.
How do we manage care at home and combat loneliness?
Home care workers have the opportunity to play a key role in improving the well-being of the person living with dementia using their services. Being lonely can lead to depression, ill health and reduced mobility. Home care services can alleviate social isolation and help promote a healthier lifestyle, again regular care workers are important to build trust amongst service users and providers. Technology can also play a part to improve social inclusion by providing information on how to stay connected with friends and family, for example using Skype.
What should homecare do to improve support for dementia?
Staff need to be aware of what is happening to the person living with dementia and their carers with a deep understanding of the condition. Staff should have:
- A fully accredited qualification relating to dementia care
- Training which exceeds minimum regulatory standards
- An understanding of family care
- Dementia specialists across organisations
- A culture which understands dementia and is dementia friendly
- Partnership working
- Training techniques that are suitable to meet the needs of all home care staff such as interactive and practical training.
- A Personalised approach
- A supportive approach to different cultures
- Integration working
- Assistive technology, adaptations and devices
- Local authorities commissioning home care
Home care should be an appealing career with pay that is attractive with an opportunity for career progression.
How DSDC can help:
DSDC deliver the Best Practice in Dementia Care. This award winning programme will help your staff to support people with dementia. This learning programme is accredited by both the Royal College of Nursing and City & Guilds. It is accredited by City & Guilds with 6 SCQF credits at level 6. This compares with QCF level 3 and EQF level 4. This means that participants who complete the course successfully will achieve 6 SCQF credits which can be used to evidence skills and could contribute toward future learning and development
Sean Hughes, Learning & Development Officer