As the number of people in New Zealand being diagnosed with dementia skyrockets Alzheimers Northland wants to be ahead of the game in ensuring Northland families are not left short.
At Alzheimers Northland we not only care for people with dementia, their families and caregivers we are also a mouthpiece for dementia in Northland. As the experts in dementia in the region we are best placed to advocate and campaign to make sure Northland families’ needs are being met and right now we are concerned about the future.
Alzheimers Northland General Manager Kevin Salmon has put together an insightful paper for the DHB that asks what can we do to address the problem of too few dementia respite beds in Northland.
Kevin said, “The private sector is just not adding dementia beds at a rate that will keep up with demand, some direction to the industry from the DHB around possible requirements in the future will encourage investment in this area. In our opinion Respite, either day, organised short term or organised long term is the best tool to address carer stress, investing in this area without doubt will provide the best support.”
Kevin has highlighted three care facilities that could have the capacity, with funding commitment, to increase their dementia beds. The paper also identifies ways in which we can work towards reducing the immediate need for dementia care by helping families to stay together at home:
– Increasing supervision hours and making them easily available to more carers, helping carers to cope better at home.
– Delivering care plans for all and sharing them with all health providers so that support can be better tailored to suit families needs.
– Access for carers to services which suits their needs the best, supervision, day program or a combination of both.
– Decreased timeframes for assessments; people deteriorate quickly and have higher levels of stress while waiting, without a doubt leading to earlier admissions to dementia units.
– Increasing access to day programs.
– More widely publicised rest home respite care options.
– Investment in carer education training in dementia and coping mechanisms to reduce stress levels and helping families to stay together at home for longer.
Kevin said “These points and more are covered in a detailed paper that I have put together for the DHB so that we can be ahead of the game. I will be working closely with them to make sure the needs of our Northland families are being heard.”