New bid to help dementia sufferers

Hayley MaceDementia sufferers in Lowestoft will soon have access to more personalised care as part of a government-funded pilot scheme.Hayley Mace

Dementia sufferers in Lowestoft will soon have access to more personalised care as part of a government-funded pilot scheme.

Suffolk County Council has secured �200,000 from the Department of Health to create innovative support services for people with dementia and their carers, including new community-based advisors in and around Lowestoft.

The service will be set up with the Alzheimer's Society as part of the community mental health team and will allow patients to have better access to help and advice.

It is part of a Suffolk-wide strategy to improve dementia care in light of figures which suggest the number of people over 65 living with dementia in the county could hit 16,000 by 2025.

Paul Dunnery, Alzheimer's Society area manager, said: 'A dementia adviser provides a named contact throughout the dementia journey with good quality information and signposting to up to date services and help.

'If the new service proves to be of benefit, we hope to see it replication across the county.'

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Chris Humphris, deputy director of commissioning for NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: 'Suffolk is a national pilot for dementia advisors and we are busy working together to put that strategy in place.'

The new services for Lowestoft are one of a number of new projects in Suffolk aimed at making sure people with dementia receive better care, advice and information.

A specialist home care service, which started in Waveney 12 months ago to help people cope with staying in hospital or moving into residential care, is also now set to be rolled out across the county.

In Bury St Edmunds, a complex care team has recently been set up to place specialist mental health staff alongside regular ward staff in order to provide earlier diagnoses of dementia if appropriate, support families and make sure the patient's mental health needs are cared for.

Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for adult and community services, said: 'We are also developing a training programme for approximately 7,000 social care staff within the next five years alongside the private, voluntary and independent sectors to ensure that people are cared for and have the services they need to live well with dementia. This programme will begin in the next few weeks.'