Alzheimer Report Calls For Increase In Quality of Services
19 September 2013
World Alzheimer Report 2013 Calls For Increase In Quality of Services For People with Dementia
The latest World Alzheimer Report released today by Alzheimer’s Disease International predicts the number of dependent older people around the world will rise from 101 million in 2010 to 277 million in 2050, nearly half of whom will be living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
Alzheimers NZ Executive Director Catherine Hall says the findings of the report issue a challenge to New Zealand to increase the quality of care for the 50,000 people in New Zealand currently living with dementia, a number that is predicted to increase three-fold by 2050.
“With nearly half of all dependent older people likely to be living with dementia, it is imperative that long term care is focused on dementia,” Ms Hall says.
“This means that we as a country have to lift our game in order to meet the specific needs of older people with dementia and relieve the considerable pressure dementia will continue to put on spouses, partners, family, friends and whanau as the population continues to age.
“We need to be able to provide autonomy and choice for people with dementia, we need to coordinate and integrate care across the various health and social care providers and we need to value the work of the people that provide the frontline care, both paid and unpaid,” she says.
“We also need to measure and monitor the quality of care being provided to provide assurance to all involved and so that we have real information to help us all continually improve on what we do.”
Professor Martin Prince, leading author of the report, comments “People with dementia have special care needs. Compared with other long-term care users they need more personal care, more hours of care, and more supervision, all of which is associated with greater caregiver strain, and higher costs. Their needs for care start early in the disease course, and evolve constantly over time, requiring advanced planning, monitoring, and coordination. That’s why dementia needs to be a public health priority and adequate planning needs to be in place so that people with dementia can live well.”
Ms Hall says Alzheimers New Zealand is calling for a national cross-agency discussion on the funding and structure of services for people with dementia. “The fact is that the funding and structures we currently have in place for people with dementia will not meet their needs or the needs of their carers into the future,” she says.
“We need to work towards national dementia planning that will provide for the future sustainability of services for people with dementia.”
The global report also revealed that the current investment in research and development into dementia is currently an order of magnitude lower than would be indicated given the burden and cost of the disorder.
Ms Hall says, “If we are going to provide better levels of care we need to know more about dementia at all stages. The report tells us that research about prevention, treatment, cure and care of people affected by dementia is woefully inadequate.”