The aim of the strategy is to help 84,000 people in Scotland who have dementia, with better support for them and their families. Experts say one of the key challenges is to encourage people to come forward to make sure they receive a prompt diagnosis.
NHS Highland Chief Executive Elaine Mead will be one of the featured speakers at an event taking place tomorrow (Wednesday 21st November) in Holyrood.
NHS Highland’s Chief Executive will update delegates on the work in Highland, as part of a joint presentation with Maxine Johnston, Alzheimer Scotland’s Regional Manager for Highland Western Isles & Orkney.
Elaine Mead said: “There continues to be a lot of stigma and myth about dementia, including that there is nothing that can be done to help. This is not the case but it is stopping people coming forward to get help.
“And in some cases it is stopping health care professionals from making a diagnosis because they are not aware of what local support there is. They fear providing a diagnosis will do more harm than good.”
Promoting access to dementia specific advice, information, support and community based resources is the focus of locality specific resource guides which have been produced through an Alzheimer Scotland project funded by the Big Lottery.
The guides for families living with dementia in the NHS Highland area were produced with the involvement of families throughout Highland and the support of Highland Health & Social Care Partnership. The guides contain dementia specific information and contact details for specialist support and community based resources.
Elaine said: “I asked Maxine to present jointly with me because I think here in Highland we are working really closely with our partners, including Alzheimer Scotland, and that is starting to make a difference on the ground.
“No one organization can make a lasting difference on their own. We have to work together. People living with dementia need us to work together and that is what we are trying to do. But we know we have a lot more to do.”
Maxine Johnston said: “We are working closely with our partners in Highland Health and Social Care and very much welcome the opportunity to jointly present at this conference and update on positive progress which is being made through this approach.
“We very much feel that integration is an opportunity for a joint approach to bring together and co-ordinate the strengths of health and social care to treat the symptoms of dementia.
“We welcome the focus on Alzheimer Scotland’s ‘eight pillar model of community support for delivery of integrated dementia care1 as a portal to deliver equal access to the best possible treatments and support for every person with dementia. This will also help ensure that we are using resources to the best possible effect to enable people to live in their own homes, in their own communities and with their families for as long as they choose.”
NHS Highland is the first board in Scotland to integrate adult and health and social care services, across the Highland Council area.
Other work in Highland which is being taken forward in partnership to improve services and care for people with dementia include the appointment of Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant, Ruth Mantle, who has responsibility for developing practices and services for people with dementia in Acute Care and Community hospitals across NHS Highland.
There is also the appointment of seven Dementia Link Workers across Highland to increase capacity for post diagnostic support as well as plans to create Highland dementia friendly communities.
If you would like more information on dementia and support available please telephone Alzheimer Scotland 01463 711707 or visit www.alzscot.org
Alzheimer Scotland also have a 24 hr freephone dementia helpline tel: 0808 808 3000
Notes to editors:
Resource guides have been produced for each of the operational units in Highland: Argyll and Bute, North and West and South and Mid. They have been produced in partnership with NHS Highland, Highland Council and Argyll and Bute Council, funded by Big Lottery Project.