The Department of Health has launched a “vision and strategy” to support and develop the contribution of all nurses to the care of dementia patients.
The strategy, published as the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge reached its first anniversary, describes what is expected of general, “dementia skilled” and specialist nurses working across all care settings.
Significantly for industry, the strategy requires nurses to be “research aware and committed to delivering evidence-based care”.
Listing the values and behaviours necessary for nurses involved in dementia treatment and care, the strategy includes:
• recognising that dementia “brings cognitive, behavioural and physical changes”
• supporting advance care planning
• promoting patient choice and focusing on “strengths and unmet need”
• using “all available resources including networking, technology and social media to improve care and access to services”.
A pyramid of nursing care is outlined, with all nurses providing “usual care and support”, dementia skilled nurses providing “assisted care or care management”, and dementia specialist nurses providing “intensive or case management”.
Emphasis is placed on the need for “seamless” integrated care across a range of settings: home, community and hospital.
The strategy addresses the responsibilities of nurses not only in the NHS but also in social care, the prison service and the private and voluntary sectors.
Pauline Watts, DH Nurse Lead for Dementia Care, commented on the launch of the strategy: “Dementia is every nurse’s business – with a change in mindset, practice, commissioning and education, nurses can make a real difference to people living with dementia and their carers and families.”