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Physio calls for better dementia skills across NHS Wales workforce

6 February 2017 - 4:42pm

A physiotherapist has told the Welsh assembly’s health, social care and sport committee that all health professionals should receive more training in dementia management.

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Integrated care could help dementia patients remain in their own homes for longer

Nick Johnson, a dementia care specialist facilitator at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, said the entire NHS workforce should be competent in dementia care.

He was giving evidence as part of the committee’s enquiry into the Welsh government’s proposed national dementia strategy. The draft strategy was published on 9 January.

Mr Johnson said the health service had to move away from the crisis management of people with dementia. To do this, the NHS needed stronger community teams, which meant high quality education and training, he said. He described dementia as one of the biggest health and social care challenges that society faces.

During a discussion of a ‘realignment’ of services for dementia patients, Mr Johnson called for integrated care to enable dementia patients to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.

But he admitted that providing good support at home was complex.

‘It’s about having the housing stock to enable people to stay at home as long as possible,’ he said.

‘It’s about supporting families within that home setting. And we know that acute admission to hospital is a danger to people with dementia.’

In other evidence the committee heard that the draft strategy gave an opportunity to create an integrated care pathway for dementia care.

It also heard recommendations for a review of the role of allied health professionals, doctors and other staff and a shift to more inter-professional working.

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