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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

New Plan for People with Dementia and their Carers

People living with dementia and their carers will have increased access to respite and community services and post-diagnostic care under new plans published by the Scottish Government. The Dementia and COVID-19 National Action Plan outlines steps to build on the action taken since March to ease the impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on people with dementia and carers. Unpaid carers of loved ones with dementia will have access to Scottish Government-funded NHS mental health services and counselling support available through Alzheimer Scotland. As well as continuing to support frontline services and staff, dementia care will be enhanced in acute and associated care settings through a further Dementia Champions Programme. This plan complements and supports priority support to the care home sector during the pandemic. Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey MSP said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people with dementia and their carers, who have had to cope with the necessary suspension of many normal services – not to mention the emotional consequences caused by the necessary restrictions to visiting loved ones in care homes. “During engagement on the development of this recovery plan, we have listened to individual experiences including those of declining physical and mental health, social isolation and the impact of delayed referrals into post-diagnostic services during the course of the pandemic. “While we are hopeful that the direct impact of the pandemic will recede next year, individuals and families may continue to experience additional issues associated with its impact and legacy. “This plan sets out our co-ordinated response to those issues and how we will work together to support people in the months and years ahead.” Kenneth Gibson MSP added: “As my mother has dementia, I know how difficult and utterly confusing the pandemic is for her. “Unfortunately I am unable to offer her the specialist care she needs myself and have great admiration to those who care for their loved ones with dementia, day in day out. “I am grateful that they were willing to provide their valuable, first hand input along with NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Alzheimer Scotland, the Life Changes Trust and others, which has resulted in a robust plan that can now begin to be delivered.” The Dementia and COVID-19 National Action Plan The plan aims to strengthen the resilience of communities across Scotland to recover through the complementary action of the NHS, local authorities and the third sector. It is a direct response to the more than 100 organisations or individuals - including people who live with or support people living with dementia – who offered their views, experiences and responses over the course of the pandemic. The Scottish Government continues to engage with participants from the engagement process, to help monitor and review the implementation and impact of this plan at 6 and 12 months. A national governance group including COSLA and representatives from health and social care partnerships will be established to oversee governance and reporting on the plan. ENDS


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