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2nd April 2015

Welsh Government reveals plans to make Wales a 'dementia-friendly nation'

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford today (April  2) said he wants health boards to work towards a 50% dementia diagnosis rate by 2016. In addition, Mr Drakeford announced that residential and nursing homes will be provided with additional support to train staff and make their buildings more dementia-friendly.

The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that 57% of people with dementia in Wales have not yet been clinically diagnosed. In 2014, there were an estimated 43,477 people in Wales living with dementia - that number is expected to increase to more than 55,000 by 2021.

Making Wales a 'dementia-friendly nation'

The Welsh Government’s ambition is to make Wales a dementia-friendly nation and build on progress to improve care and support for dementia sufferers and their families.

Ministers are providing an extra £1m to support the new dementia policies, with £800,000 to fund the new primary care support workers.

This is in addition to the £130m invested in new elderly mental health facilities across Wales; funding for the Alzheimer’s Society to provide special patient information packs; supporting a free, 24-hour Wales Dementia Helpline and providing books on prescription about dementia in every public library.

The new plan for dementia in Wales includes:

  • A new target for health boards to improve dementia diagnosis rate to at least 50% by 2016.
  • Funding for 32 new primary care support workers, who will provide face-to-face support, information and advice on accessing the right care and services for people diagnosed with dementia. They will also work in their local communities to raise awareness of dementia and help people with the disease to live longer in their communities;
  • New funding for four additional primary care link nurses who will visit the 675 residential and nursing homes in Wales to provide training for staff about how to identify dementia, provide post-diagnosis support, link up with local GP services and advise how to make buildings more dementia-friendly;
  • Increasing the number of people in Wales trained as dementia friends who are able to spot signs of the illness and help sufferers and create more dementia supportive communities. There are currently more than 9,800 dementia friends in Wales and 400 champions. The Welsh Government will provide funding for the next three years for the Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia friends campaign;
  • Publishing a new guide on the steps people can take to reduce their risk of developing dementia;
  • Encouraging more GP surgeries to take up Welsh Government-funded dementia training - to date 30% of GP practices in Wales have already completed the training, with virtually all of them subsequently agreeing a dementia lead and action plan.

Read more on this story: Wales' plans for dementia sufferers

Welsh Government: New dementia targets & staff unveiled

Nursing Times: Extra dementia nurses and support workers announced for Wales

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