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Dementia Care in Crisis

Dementia patients and their carer’s are desperate for improved support and funding from the government.

Yesterday, the office of national statistics released data from 2015 showing dementia as the leading cause of death in England and Wales. Last year 11.6 percent of deaths were caused by dementia, replacing heart disease as the most common cause of death. So why doesn’t the NHS offer sufficient support and funding to all patients suffering with the disease?

The main issue is that ‘dementia’ is not medically recognised as seriously as other illnesses by the NHS, despite it being found as the biggest cause of death last year. Many people have to pay for private care in a nursing home, even if they are struggling financially.

Why does dementia care seem completely forgotten by the government? They appear utterly unaware of the amount of critical care patients and their families need. There’s no clear-cut list of health conditions or illnesses that qualify for funding. Most people with long-term care needs don’t qualify for NHS continuing care because the assessment process crosses the complex boundary between medical profession and social services.

If a patient is still living in their own home, they will most definitely have to pay for the costs of their own care and support, but must be left with a basic level of income (Care Act 2014.) Patients who require constant care, but still live in their own home, are often forced to sell their house and any other assets to fund the care, draining every last penny until they get contribution from the government.

There is an enormous gap in care provision in this sector, as well as a shortage of money, however allowing patients and families to remain without support until they reach breaking point demonstrates how the system fails so many.

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