Dementia is a Medical problem and not a social care issue.
Dementia is linked to being an age related problem and hence currently Dementia sufferersas classed as needing ” social care”.
Funding for Social Care is met by Local Authorities who apply a “means test” meaning that Dementia sufferers pay for their own care till their assets are depleted. By treating Dementia as a medical disorder ( which it is ), it should attract care from the NHS through Continuing Health Care which is granted for long term health conditions. Doing so removes the “means testing” which will mean that more people will get fully funded care and rightly so.
Being a GP who is involved in the Social Care Sector as a group CEO, we often come across families who are distressed as they have to loose everything for care of loved one before the Local Authority will offer assistance ( different rules apply for Scotland).
If Dementia is age related, so is Cancer. Being older increases a persons chance of developing cancer. If Cancer is not a social care problem, neither is Dementia.
Dementia itself is not a disease but is used to describe a group of symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly.
1. Alzheimer’s Dementia : Not fully understood but we know that there is formation of build-up of two proteins called amyloid and tau in the brain cells. About 5% of Alzheimer’s occurs in younger people ( who possibly quality for NHS Continuing Care in some areas). Is this a social care problem ? NO
2. Vascular Dementia: Occurs due to damage to brain cells often following a stroke. Is this a social care problem ? NO
3. Lewy-Body Dementia: Occurs due to formation of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the nerve cells. Is this a social care problem ? Is this a social care problem ? NO
These are the main types of Dementia but all others are also related to a medical condition.
Britain’s families are contributing £11.6 Billion worth of unpaid care looking after Dementia patients. This needs to change and now.
My petition to our Prime Minister and Health & Social Care Secretary – NHS Funding for Dementia sufferers without means testing is what we are asking for.