Dementia UK helpline report reveals the care gap

April 1, 2016

The Dementia UK Helpline report has revealed how family carers are struggling with their local health and social services, and are turning to our helpline to get advice and support from our Admiral Nurses, to help plug the care gap. The report also revealed that carers are taking on more responsibility for caring and this is having an impact on their own health.

Over a quarter of calls (28%) to the helpline included some kind of complaint about health and social care services and support. Eighty per cent of calls included discussions of the difficulties the family carer was experiencing on a daily basis with the person living with dementia; and nearly a third of calls (31%) included conversations with family carers about the negative impact caring was having on their personal well-being including frustration, distress, and exhaustion.

In more than three-quarters of the calls (78%), Admiral Nurses on the helpline gave specific advice to the caller on issues they weren’t getting adequate support with to help plug the care gap. Issues our Admiral Nurses helped family carers with included: the health and social care system, living arrangements, medication, self-care, how to get a diagnosis of dementia, safety issues, eating problems, activities, communication, and finance.

Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse and CEO Dementia UK said: “Family carers are increasingly turning to Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline to gain the advice and support that they are unable to obtain from their local health and social care services, due to a funding or specialist skills shortage.

Post-diagnosis dementia care is patchy across the UK and it really is a post-code lottery. We have 164 Admiral Nurses (who are specialist dementia nurses) across the country, and we are striving to increase this to 200 by the end of this year. But this simply isn’t enough to support the number of family carers who are struggling to cope. Our Admiral Nursing Dementia Helpline is proving to be a lifeline to many family carers.”