Headlines: November 27th, 2007

The heads of social services have welcomed a report today from the Alzheimer’s Society and say many of its recommendations are achievable. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has also said training is essential to ensure all care is brought up to the standards set by the best providers.

The Alzheimer’s Society study brands much of the care provided for people suffering with dementia as very poor and says a disturbing proportion is ‘absolutely appalling’. It also points to the claims of care staff that there is little specialist training available and too little money to encourage its provision.

Jenny Owen, co-chair of ADASS’s older people’s committee, said many of the recommendations inn the Society’s report were reasonable, doable and if they were implemented they would dramatically improve the quality of life for many elderly people and their carers. She said it was as important as it was gratifying to see attention being focused on the growing numbers of people with Alzheimer’s and the challenges that posed for older people, their carers and for residential, home care and extra care housing services.

“We must remember that the quality of some residential care is very high, as the Society’s report recognises. Our efforts must, though, be aimed at getting all our services up to that same high quality by concentrating as much of our energies as we can on training, training, training. We fully accept the Society’s recommendation that we should commission for quality services.”

Staff caring for people with dementia needed access, she said, to highly skilled specialist advice and support. The ADASS has made its views, which were similar to those of the Alzheimer’s Society’s, clear to Lord Darzi’s inquiry into the NHS and Directors were also contributing substantially to the National Dementia Strategy, which is due to report next Autumn.

“It is recognised and broadly accepted that recent resource settlements for adult social services have not made rising to these challenges any easier. At the same time there is no excuse for us nationally not looking at more efficient ways of how we can use all the resources available to us within the health and social care system in order to help improve the quality of life for so many older, and not so older, people,” Jenny Owen added