• Well, well, well 06 March 2017 | View comments

  • 6th March 2017 | By David Jolley

    ‚ÄčIt was good to learn that the Dementia Roadmap is alive and healthy and that it has been modified to be in cinque with NHS England’s Dementia Well Pathway www.england.nhs.uk/mentalhealth/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2016/03/dementia-well-pathway.pdf

    My embarrassment is that I had not noticed the change earlier. The puzzle and frustration is why this useful device has not been more widely adopted in England. There is encouragement from the launch of the Dementia Roadmap for Wales http://wales.dementiaroadmap.info/

    The point of Dementia Roadmaps is to bring together national and international knowledge and wisdom about dementia and best practice in all aspects of life affected by it, with information about the strengths and weaknesses of local initiatives. It does need commitment from local CCGs or similar organisations carrying responsibility for communities. Having said that, even if a CCG supports a Dementia Roadmap, it will only live and its potential benefits be realised if there is activity amongst families, voluntary groups and health and social care professionals demanding use of it and modifications to make life better.

    The Dementia Well Pathway is a matrix with columns which address preventing, diagnosing, supporting, living and dying well with dementia. For the most part this is fine, though it does not have space for ‘treatment’ and the whole thing risks blinkers which exclude important aspects of life, with or without pathology or disability, such as mood and spiritual adjustment.

    Mark Wiberforce picked up on last week’s blog to draw attention to the editorial in International Psychogeriatrics from Ruth Barlett, Lore Windemuth Wolfson, Keith Oliver and Tom Denning. They point out that, though no one feels it right to refer to people living with dementia as ‘dementia sufferers’, dementia is sometimes associated with its own unique dimensions of suffering. Keith Oliver admits it is tiring and dispiriting to feel you have always to be positive and only talk of the ‘wellness’ that can be achieved living with dementia.

    Most of us will agree that there are times when things feel grim and hopeless. The more so when undermined by uncertainty of what has gone before and wonder about the present and the future.

    None of this is diminish what is being achieved by these initiatives, but we have sobering reminders not to be carried away by words. These reminders say that all people are people. Each is unique, but no one is alone in the sense of being unreachable or uninfluenced by is happening in the world around them, or the world from which they have grown.

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