Dementia cases 'not diagnosed'

By Ian Dipple Friday 06 December 2013 Updated: 06/12 11:25

MORE than half of dementia cases across Redditch and Bromsgrove are going undiagnosed according to new figures.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has released statistics for every area as part of a state of the nation report into dementia care in a bid to encourage residents to put pressure on local health organisations to drive up standards.

In Redditch and Bromsgrove just 46.8 per cent of dementia cases are diagnosed, meaning potentially hundreds of people are living without medication to help deal with their condition and families going without support.

The picture is worse in other parts of the county as the figure is just 40.8 per cent in South Worcestershire and 45 per cent in Wyre Forest. In contrast in parts of neighbouring Birmingham diagnosis rates are over 60 per cent.

It is estimated about 7,400 people in Worcestershire are living with dementia and the figure is set to soar by 69 per cent to over 12,000 by 2026.

Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for health and well-being on Worcestershire County Council and chairman of the Worcestershire Health and Well-being board, called the figures disappointing adding they would be looking at the data closely with health partners to ensure early diagnosis rates improved.

He said it was crucial people with dementia had the right access to information, services and care from well-trained staff which was being delivered through the council's training programme for care home workers, with ten care homes so far having achieved the Worcestershire Dementia Standard.

"There is growing awareness and evidence of how Assistive Technology can support people with dementia, and other conditions causing memory loss, maintain their independence, as this is an area the local authority is pioneering," he said.

"Our aim is that residents can continue to enjoy living independently within their communities with whatever support is appropriate for themselves and their loved ones. We are continuously looking at ways of improving care throughout the whole dementia journey."

In 2010 Worcestershire Health and Care Trust launched its Early Intervention Dementia Service which so far has seen 2,000 people receive an early and timely diagnosis and last week won an NHS award. Worcestershire is also one of the few areas in the country with a countywide admiral nursing service.

Dr Bernie Coope, senior consultant at the Trust, said: "In this way we ensure those affected are better prepared to accept the diagnosis and take an active role in planning their own care and it’s our job to shape the service around those needs and preferences, which usually involve care at home, in a familiar environment close to friends and family."

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