Creating support worker role for Torbay dementia sufferers
PLANS are under way to create new support worker jobs to help Bay dementia patients.
Experts say the number of people with the syndrome could double in the next 30 years.
Now, health bosses are looking at how to support patients and their carers through the illness.
Ann Redmayne, mental health commissioner for South Devon and Torbay Shadow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "People are saying to us: 'Who do we contact when things go wrong?'.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"They want somebody who will follow them through that journey right from diagnosis."
The team is planning the creation of five posts throughout Torbay to be linked with GP surgeries.
There will be two each in Paignton and Torquay and one in Brixham.
Mrs Redmayne said: "We are just about to go out to tender so hopefully it should be up and running in the new year. I anticipate that it will be a third sector provider."
Mrs Redmayne was speaking at a meeting of Torbay Council's health scrutiny board.
She was joined by David Somerfield, medical director of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, for a presentation on dementia in Torbay.
Dr Somerfield said Torbay was at the forefront in dementia care in Devon but that there are still improvements to be made.
He said: "I don't believe we have got it right."
He said there was a 40 per cent diagnosis rate — lower than the 60 per cent target, better care was needed for patient and carer support and tighter prescribing of anti-psychotics.
The committee heard one-third of care staff report no training, there is insufficient support and one person a day is inappropriately admitted to hospital.
Dr Somerfield said: "Something that we talk about frequently is support of care homes.
"A survey of care homes in 2010 showed that one in eight was rated as poor.
"We need to improve quality and support care homes because they are instrumental in providing care.
"We have found that for patients with dementia, that quality of life does not degenerate in the right environment, at home or in a really good care home.
"There are some brilliant homes in Torbay that do dementia care really well and good owners that really understand how to provide personalised care."
Dr Somerfield told the committee that a bid is being put together to pay for training in care homes.
"There have been lots of positives when teams have gone into homes to offer support and produced some fantastic results but with 81 care homes we need to multiply that work by eight to 10 times."