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Plan launched for Surrey to become dementia-friendly

People living with dementia and their carers are being asked to help shape a five-year plan for making Surrey a better place for everyone affected by the condition.

The joint health and social care dementia strategy sets out how services will work together to improve the lives of people with dementia, their families and carers. At the heart of the plan is an ambition to create dementia-friendly communities across the county.

Surrey County Council worked with NHS partners to draw up the draft plan, alongside Healthwatch Surrey which surveyed people with dementia and carers about their experiences.

Now a consultation has opened so people living with dementia, their families and staff who work with them, and anyone else who wishes to contribute, can have their say on the priorities outlined in the plan.

Increasing numbers of people in Surrey are being diagnosed with dementia. Between 2020 and 2030 numbers are expected to rise more than a quarter, from 17,700 to more than 22,600.

Sinead Mooney, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Dementia is affecting more families than ever in Surrey and the impact of Covid-19 on their lives has been difficult in many cases.

“This plan sets out our vision for dementia care and support in Surrey – for improving quality of life and quality of care, for diagnosing earlier and for enabling people to lead independent lives for as long as possible.

“Our aim is for Surrey to become truly dementia-friendly, a place where people know how to find advice and help in the community and no one with the condition is left behind.

“Please spare a few minutes to fill in our consultation which will help us make sure that the final strategy we publish next year really does capture your priorities and expectations.”

Dr Sophie Norris, GP and Clinical Lead for Dementia for Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group added: “This joint strategy shows the commitment of all our organisations to working in partnership to improve dementia care and support in Surrey for local people, with a strong focus on tackling inequalities so that no one with the condition is left behind.

“We have drawn on insights from people affected by dementia, and sought the views of a range of partner organisations, and used this feedback to shape our draft strategy. Now we would like people to tell us what they think of our plan – including any other areas we should be focusing on – so we can prioritise the areas that matter most to local people and make a real difference to dementia care in Surrey.”

The draft strategy sets out five key ambitions which are: 

  • Preventing well – raising awareness of dementia and preventative actions people can take
  • Diagnosing well – making sure people have equal access to dementia care by addressing inequalities and gaps
  • Living well – making sure everyone has the opportunity to live life to the full following diagnosis
  • Supporting well – engaging with communities and faith groups to ensure we reach out to people with dementia and their carers
  • Dying well – making sure care is coordinated to enable an individual to live as independently as possible until their death

The ambitions will be achieved through a series of actions and initiatives, many of which build on progress already made, including:

  • establishing dementia-friendly communities across Surrey to ensure people with dementia and their carers are supported where they live
  • addressing the gap in the need for small-scale specialist dementia residential and nursing care
  • promoting health checks for the over-40s to help prevent dementia, as far as it’s possible to do so
  • early identification of carers who look after people with dementia
  • enabling Surrey’s dementia navigators to meet growing demand for the service which assists people to navigate the system and get access to support or local services
  • improving carers’ breaks, with trained and skilled home care staff able to give personalised care and support enabling carers to take a break
  • making sure that individuals with dementia have advocates to ensure their wishes are included in care plans

Please visit the Surrey Says website to complete the consultation on the draft strategy which closes on January 21. Accessible versions of the survey including Easy Read are available.

ENDS

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