Under the Care Act, which came into force in April 2015, councils must ensure that their social care services are responsive to the specific needs of individual patients. In order to achieve this, people’s care plans must be reviewed at least once a year.

New figures, gathered through a Freedom of Information Act request,  show that councils across England are struggling to meet these requirements – with those with dementia worst affected.

Out of 152 councils with social care responsibilities in England that were asked about their reviews and reassessments for people with dementia, 97 councils provided data that formed the final report.

One quarter of people with dementia had to have an urgent or unplanned review after an emergency or sudden change of circumstance meant their support needs had changed.

Healthwatch England’s research found that 65% of completed reviews led to a full reassessment. Over half of these reassessments saw no change in a person’s care, while 34% saw an increase in funding.

In 2017/18 one third of people who use dementia support services got no review at all.

National director of Healthwatch England, Imelda Redmond CBE, said in response to the organisation’s findings:

‘Reviews and assessments are about more than just ticking boxes on a form. Over half of reviews for people with dementia were missed by councils last year, so we simply don’t know if people are getting the support they need. Behind each missed review is a real human story. We heard examples where a lack of support left people and their families struggling to cope on a day-to-day basis, with tasks that many of us take for granted, like eating, washing, dressing or even using toilet. Behind each missed review is a year human story.’

Jeremy Hughes CBE, chief executive officer of Alzheimer’s Society said: “It’s downright appalling that more than half of people with dementia didn’t get a care package review last year.

“Dementia is a complex disease, and a person’s care needs can change dramatically over time. This means thousands of people are not receiving the appropriate care and support that they so badly need.”

Source: National Health Executive

Read what our Enter and View Volunteers found out about good care in recent visits to care home in Devon here

Read how Citizens Advice Healthwatch Champions are helping people get the advice and information they need, right across Devon on pages 9 – 14 of our Annual Report 2018/19 here

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