Discussion of the Delivery of Health and Social Care Services to Individuals with Dementia

This essay explores the delivery of health and social care services to individuals with dementia from a holistic perspective encompassing biological, psychological, and social dimensions. Case studies of two older adults with dementia will be presented to illustrate key points. Patient confidentiality will be upheld in accordance with the Health & Care Professions Council (2016) Code.

The significance of this topic is underscored by the alarming prevalence of dementia. As Prince et al. (2014) report, approximately 850,000 individuals in the UK are affected by dementia, a number projected to surge in the coming decades (Dementia Statistics n.d.). Lewis (2015) even predicts that one in three individuals born in 2015 will develop dementia during their lifetime. These statistics highlight the urgent need for effective health and social care services for those with dementia. To address this, an understanding of dementia, its types, and stages is essential.

Main Body
Dementia, as defined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2016), is a progressive and mostly irreversible clinical syndrome leading to various cognitive impairments, including memory loss, language difficulties, disorientation, and changes in behavior. This definition underscores the comprehensive impact of dementia on biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of well-being. The World Health Organization (2018) emphasizes that health encompasses physical, mental, and social well-being.

Crucially, dementia has no known cure due to its multifactorial causes. It manifests in various forms such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and others (Alzheimer’s Society 2018a).

Dementia care focuses on enhancing coping mechanisms and preventing complications. NICE (2016) emphasizes preserving patient independence and addressing activities of daily living to optimize functionality and reduce the need for support. Given the individualized nature of dementia care, each patient’s specific needs arising from the disease’s nature and stage must be assessed.

To determine the stage of dementia, assessment tools like the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia (GDS) and the Functional Assessment Staging (FAST) are valuable (Dementia Care Central 2016). The Roper-Logan-Tierney 12 Activities of Living Model is useful in identifying and prioritizing patients’ needs, guiding holistic assessment and care planning (Williams 2015). NICE (2016) endorses identifying specific health-related needs arising from various factors including age, ethnicity, and personal care.

For instance, in the case of the male patient with advanced dementia, mobility challenges necessitate risk assessments for issues like pressure sores. Psychosocially, individuals like the newly diagnosed female patient require personalized patient education to cope with changes. Living arrangements, whether in the community or an institution, should consider factors like environment safety and assistive technology (NICE 2016).

Crucially, support for caregivers is paramount, as they play a pivotal role in enhancing the patient’s quality of life (Brodaty and Donkin 2009). Caregivers often experience significant physical and psychosocial burdens, necessitating support interventions.

Effective dementia care management necessitates addressing the biological, psychological, and social aspects of the condition. The focus is on preserving functionality, averting complications, and enabling effective coping for both patients and their families. Tailored care interventions are essential, driven by assessment tools and strategies. Providing information to patients and families empowers them to navigate the challenges of dementia. In this comprehensive approach, health and social care professionals play a pivotal role in improving the lives of individuals with dementia and their caregivers.

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