Following a review of dementia services for people living in care homes and extra care schemes (with 24 hour on call support) in the Clapham Park area in 2014, we carried out a follow up investigation in summer/autumn 2015 to gather views on services for people living with dementia independently in their own homes. Our investigation aimed to understand: · The support needs of people living with dementia and their carers · Their experience of using health and care services, and to what degree these services worked in an integrated way · Their perceptions of any barriers to accessing services · Their views on gaps and areas for improvement. Between August and October 2015, we carried out in depth interviews with family carers and people living with dementia across the borough. Of the 21 interviewees we spoke to, 18 were family carers and three people had dementia. We spoke to people over the phone or face-to-face.
Four of our interviewees’ relatives had been diagnosed in the past two years by the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) memory service, with one other person waiting for a diagnosis from the service at the time we spoke to them.
Six interviewees including two people with dementia gave positive feedback about the information and support provided by SLaM when they received their diagnosis. Comments included: ‘Extremely helpful’, ‘Everything was explained - the staff at the Maudsley Hospital were good and helpful’ and ‘We got what we needed’.
Two interviewees said their relative received a home visit from the service during the diagnosis process. Another person told us an Italian interpreter had been provided for her mother, which had worked well.
The Dementia Action Alliance has produced a series of seven outcomes which people living with dementia aspire to. They include having personal choice over decisions and having services designed around their family’s needs. During our investigation, we have gathered experiences of a range of services and, while there have been some noticeable positives - the older persons units and rapid response service in particular - our general impression is that bureaucracy and over-stretched public services are hindering opportunities to deliver the person-centred care that the Alliance’s outcomes call for.