After asking for this vital piece of research to be carried out, we welcome the ‘Hear our Voice’ report, which looks at how to improve dementia and memory loss services and support across Cornwall and supports making dementia “everybody’s business”.
Every day, people family and friends are living with dementia and that number is expected to grow every year. That is why it is such an important area for us to understand and improve, based on the feedback of those living with dementia.
More than 160 unpaid carers shared their views and experiences as part of the report, produced by Healthwatch Cornwall.
They described many positive experiences of services and support which are “helpful, caring, supportive, and working well”, including Cornwall’s network of memory cafes. The report also found that “dementia-specific roles were often highly praised by those able to access them”.
However, the report and feedback from local carers and families highlighted a number of the key areas for improvement. We know we need to make sure that services and support can be accessed by all people with dementia and memory loss, and those who care for them.
What happens now?
The report has made a series of recommendations to improve dementia and memory loss services. These include developing a clear dementia care pathway of services and support, monitoring diagnosis waiting times and local diagnosis rates and providing a yearly review for all those living with dementia.
Dementia is one of the Integrated Care System’s (ICS) key priorities for health and social care across Cornwall. The feedback and recommendations will be used to finalise our new dementia strategy.
Dr Allison Hibbert, Clinical Advisor and Lead for Dementia, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly ICS Dementia Improvement Programme said:
“In my clinical work, I look after people living with dementia and memory loss, and their carers, on a daily basis, so I see first-hand why it is such a vital area for us to develop and improve.
“We asked for this important dementia research project after hearing the concerns of a carer from a Memory Café, and I am proud that so many people came forward to share their views and experiences.
“You will see from the report’s recommendations that we need to address a wide variety of areas to improve services, including to access useful information, recognition of carers, social care, health services for older adults living with dementia but also for those with young onset dementia.
“Having been a carer myself, I know how precious your time is. I would like to thank all who have supported this project, especially carers and people living with dementia, the team at Healthwatch Cornwall, Cornwall Memory Cafe Network, and carer group volunteers”.
To read the ‘Hear our Voice: Improving dementia and memory loss services and support in Cornwall through carer experience’ report, visit the Healthwatch Cornwall website: New research shows people in Cornwall living with dementia and their carers often struggle to access the care and support they need | Healthwatch Cornwall
For details about our Memory Service, visit the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust website: Dementia and older people’s mental health | Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (cornwallft.nhs.uk)
For useful and local advice to support those professionals, people living with dementia, their carers and families visit the Dementia Roadmap: