Many of us will know someone living with dementia, or may well be living with dementia ourselves. It’s a condition that predominately occurs later life, and is more common as we all live longer.
With more than 1 million people expected to be living with dementia in the UK by 2020, how do we ensure nurses have the skills to provide them with support and care they will need?
Nursing staff currently play a crucial role in providing support to those living with dementia and their carers, both in community and in hospital settings. But many nurses believe their role in dementia will only grow.
In a recent RCN survey, 45% of nurses thought that dementia would prove the biggest health issue of the future. 84% said that they are already seeing their workload affected by the ageing population.
Although nursing staff strive to provide the best care, too often people living with dementia can end up in hospital wards which are not appropriately adapted to meet their needs.
The RCN is piloting a scheme with independent care homes to help make them more ‘dementia friendly’ and has previously introduced five principles in acute care for improving the quality of care for people with dementia and enabling the best possible support for their carers.
At RCN Congress in June, members highlighted several issues of concern about dementia care, including a lack of awareness and resources, and a feeling that care was not of a consistently high standard.
Our Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw, spoke at the RCN congress in June about his experiences of caring for his mum Joan. He spoke movingly about the need to champion person-centered care, and to look beyond a person’s diagnosis to engage with them as an individual.