In 2012 the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia recognised the low rates of formal diagnosis of dementia and services were asked to make improvements in this area. The CQC are clearly focusing heavily on dementia and dedicated much of their March update to developments in this area. Now NICE have published further guidance on dementia. It should be read alongside existing NICE guidelines and the CQC essential standards and is relevant to ‘all people with cognitive impairment’ whether they have been formally diagnosed with dementia or not.
The guidance contains a list of ten statements on high quality care for people with dementia. In summary, they relate to those with dementia being enabled to: 1) discuss concerns about dementia and seek a diagnosis 2) have choice and control in decisions affecting their care 3) participate in a review of their needs when circumstances change 4) participate in leisure activities based on individual interest and choice 5) maintain and develop relationships 6) access services that help maintain their physical and mental health and wellbeing 7) live in housing that meets their specific needs 8) participate in and influence the design, planning, evaluation and delivery of services 9) access independent advocacy services and 10) maintain their contribution to the community.
The statements are in keeping with the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005. The MCA already requires that those making best interest decisions encourage a person lacking capacity to participate in any decision affecting them as much as possible and take into account the person’s past and present wishes and feelings, beliefs and values. The Alzheimer’s Society has emphasised the need for greater training of staff in care homes in order to identify dementia and improve care for residents. Given that this is also a focus for CQC and safeguarding investigations, it is more important than ever that providers are able to demonstrate that carers are regularly trained and kept updated in this area.