Health and Wellbeing

Devon authorities work hard to improve dementia services

Posted on: 21 May 2012

Devon authorities are working hard with partners to improve services for people with dementia and their carers.

Devon County Council recently announced plans to invest £11.2 million redevelopment programme to create up to ten centres of excellence for people with dementia, that will include residential, day care and respite services.

Their plans will create around 300 specialist bed spaces for dementia residents, helping to address Devon’s immediate shortage in this specific type of care.

Across Devon, primary care staff in 66 GP practices have so far received the latest training to help them recognise dementia and give their patients really good support and advice.

Figures show a correlation in the increasing numbers of practices receiving training, and a four-fold rise numbers of people being referred for more specialist help.

NHS Devon, Devon County Council and Devon Partnership (NHS) Trust are continuing to improve access to dementia care, making it easier and quicker for people to get the care they need.

In Devon’s community hospitals, ongoing work to improve dementia care is underway, and Devon Partnership (NHS) Trust’s new inpatient facilities for dementia care are proving a success.

And plans by the County Council to develop the first of a number of extra care housing developments – homes that will enable people, including people with dementia, to have their independence while having 24 hour a day care available to them – are well underway.

Meanwhile, memory cafes are also going from strength to strength, giving people with dementia and their carers a supportive environment in which to share their experiences and useful information.  37 memory cafes across Devon are now in operation, and many are planning to hold more frequent meetings.

Cllr Stuart Barker, the County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for adult social care said:

“Devon has one of the highest proportions of older people within its population of all UK counties.  We expect an increase in the number of people in Devon with dementia from around 12,000 people now to around 17,000 by 2021.

“We and Devon’s health authorities are investing now in services that will continue to meet the growing demand in future, and provide greater support for carers.

“The Government’s announcement this year to double the research budget for dementia care, and to encourage creation of 20 dementia-friendly communities, is also welcomed, and is a clear indication that this disease is on the government’s own agenda.”

Doctor Nick Cartmell, GP at Ashburton Surgery and NHS Devon lead for dementia care, said:

“We are seeing some very exciting changes to dementia care in Devon, not least a real change in the way GPs are managing people with memory problems and dementia, but also improvements to the support people will be able to access if they have dementia or care for someone with dementia.

“However, there is still much to be done, particularly around improving society-wide attitudes towards dementia.

“Therefore I also call on the public, local communities, businesses and families to learn about dementia and what they can do to help people with dementia ‘live well’ with it for as long as possible.”

3 comments on “Devon authorities work hard to improve dementia services

  1. Sarah Hopkins says:

    The Reader Organisation facilitates Library Memory Groups in Exeter and Tiverton. These are set up for people living with dementia and their carers. Groups are small (2 – 12), meet weekly, and last up to two hours including a break for tea.
    We read aloud from quality stories and poetry – classical and contemporary. We facilitate to encourage recall and conversation, re-connecting people to each other through reading, and making the contents of literature relevant to their own lives. By sharing reminisciences, the group pieces together a collective memory stimulated by the reading.
    Everyone has a copy of the text to follow, or not, as they wish. People like to take the poems home to read again alone, or together, or to pass on. They also provide a talking point, something meaningful to show the carer, a friend or relative.
    We meet every Wednesday 10.30 -12 in Exeter Central Library and Fridays 10.30 – 12 at Tiverton Library. A new Library Memory Group at Newton Abbot is starting soon. All welcome

  2. Simone Dunford says:

    Woodland Vale CCSC in Torrington are starting a support group for individuals who support people that have dementia at home and within our unit and day centre. The support group is held on the last Wednesday of every month from 16:00 to 17:00hrs.
    The aim of the support group is to bring people together to share experiences and feelings and to have an opportunity to meet with professional teams whom can provide valued support and advice on all areas. No appointment needed, just drop in.

  3. Peter de Goot says:

    Rose Lodge in Exmouth invites people in the community to join their social club activities which include a choir, a drama group, and a rambling group. You can find us at or call Joanna on 01395 227071

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