Dementia is now the leading cause of death England and Wales, and is thought to affect more than 850,000 people in the UK.
Caring for them is one of the biggest headaches facing the NHS and social care and the economies of the task are hugely complex, with Government austerity measures effectively strangling the private sector’s preferred responses.
It’s a fact of life that the majority of Care Homes and Home Care Providers Clients and Residents will now have degrees of dementia. Integrity may cost a much-needed placement/client, but we must accept the limits of provision in place. Factoring in the necessary Fee to be Commission-compliant with dementia takes carefully assessed
It is, therefore, paramount we get our business reaction right – embracing dementia clients can have profound ramifications on existing business models and understanding dementia is a steep learning curve
We need to be educators and ambassadors, be clear on the impact of the severity of dementia with which we’re dealing and the potential impact on our residential homes or domiciliary businesses. Also, families and Local Authority Brokerage have no idea why this specialised care so costly. Again, be clear and avoid the aggravation of unpaid invoices.
To run a successful business you need to consider, one or all of the following;
Possible collateral damage to the building:
Apart from the work needed to get the building Dementia Friendly you will need to have a much more exhaustive maintenance plan to ensure standards are preserved and this element needs to be included in costs.
Staffing numbers need to reflect the extra support and extended hands-on care time required. There needs to be enough personnel to allow for breaks, as dementia care can be hugely stressful. Many individuals with the memory-loss condition have irregular sleep patterns and will require one-to-one companionship/conversation and feeding. Staff doing the assessments need to be skill to ensure the figures stack up as well.
People with dementia need to be able to move round the building and grounds without constant supervision. To have sensory stimulants – things they can touch, feel and smell to help enrich their lives.
Additional staff training:
All staff, who work in the care Industry need and understanding of dementia, but senior staff and owners need a more in-depth knowledge so that they can competently tackle issues as they arise, be able to stand their ground with professionals and safeguarding, and engage innovative and very person-sensitive ideas. You will also need additional cleaning hours to keep the home/building up to standard.
Irregular dietary requirements:
Food needs to be provided when it’s required and in a format that people with dementia can access.
Extended record keeping:
If you are trying different ways to support an individual, you will need to ensure that everything you try is recorded to show it is in their best interest. You should also try to engage family and friends and record their comments. An understanding of additional care support mechanisms, such as professional groups and representative bodies and dementia cafes are useful.
Hospital escorting policy:
You will need a clear escort policy budgeted carefully into the business plan. For instance, do you send a member of staff to all external appointments; emergency A&E visits; what’s the policy on appointments that require an extended stay beyond normal shift patterns; do you charge the family for one or all such accompanying trips as this is not included in the Local Authority fees; and do you have enough skilled staff to do this kind of care?
Traditional group activities are not ideal for many people with dementia, so you will need to have capacity for one-to-one initiatives and ensure all staff can engage with residents as they care for them. This is particularly vital in the stretched Home Care Market.
As care providers we need to clearly grasp the reality that symptoms of dementia are progressive and on an unknown time scale. Being fiscally cute and planning responsibly for such a capricious condition is immensely problematic, but it’s one that must be addressed. We need to ensure that there is a vibrant dementia market for the future and we can only do that if we are resolute in the knowledge of provision.
Visit carefitforvips.co.uk for help on person-centred dementia care, a site the Association recommends for its members.