Statistics place the number of people experiencing issues of mental health in the United Kingdom at one person in every six people. There has been a significant increase in the number of people suffering from various forms of mental with some of the leading factors being worries about money, jobs, and relationships. Generalised anxiety disorder tops the list of the most common form of mental health issues with other examples depression, panic disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and mixed anxiety and depression. Dementia occupied a special place among the mental diseases affecting the elderly population. This paper is based on an assessment conducted at Chesterfield (Derbyshire), analysing the conditions at which patients suffering from dementia are exposed to as well as the nature of care they received. It will further discuss issues facing the Chesterfield community on the various initiatives, strategies, and services implemented both at the national and local area. The findings of this study will ultimately juxtapose the nearby communities against the greater United Kingdom and will analyze the nature of healthcare provision and delivery to dementia patients.
It is approximated that there are more than 45 million individuals in the world living with dementia and more than 10 million new cases are being reported daily (WHO, 2017). In the UK alone, there are more than 850,000 people with dementia with Alzheimer's disease being the most common form of dementia in the country (Alzheimer's Research UK, 2018). It is expected that by 2024, there will be more than one million patients suffering from dementia in the UK and two million by 2050 (Alzheimer's Society, 2014). Patients with dementia are often associated with symptoms of forgetfulness and inability to perform daily tasks which gradually becomes worse as the disease progresses (Alzheimer's Society, 2017). It is for this reason that countries such as the UK are making heavy investments in providing the best care for elderly patients with dementia with particular emphasis on reducing the mortality rates associated with mental illness (Alzheimer's Society, 2011).
The process of profiling often involves identifying resources endowed to a particular community. An important aspect of this process is that it must be inclusive, whereby the community actively participates in the profiling exercise (Heyman, 2010). The significance of NHA to the general practice of medicine and in healthcare is dependent on the contribution it can give in improving the quality of data, which can only be achieved through direct contact and collaboration with the community in question (Alzheimer's Society, 2014). In addition to developing a suitable action plan by involving the community and engaging in public-patient participation, the NHA is also crucial in improving patient care and the better use of resources as well as improving communication with other healthcare-related agencies and the public. Community profiling, therefore, has a far-reaching depiction of the essential areas of a populace that describes itself as a network as well as the assets that exist inside that network (Jack & Holt, 2008). Community profiling is a crucial component in assessing the health needs of the population whereby health experts collect data from varying sources and analyze it to form a deep understanding of the status of healthcare service delivery in a community (NICE, 2011). The assessment report is then used in allocating resources and prioritization of projects in the city. Community profiling also facilitates the process of allocating health resources based on the health needs of the community (Jack & Holt, 2008). Needs appraisal should be done at the community level to recognize medical issues, and the efficient use of the facilities can enhance the quality of service delivery to mental health patients in Derbyshire. The data collected when profiling healthcare in communities is the most used source of data by government parastatals in policymaking, by entrepreneurs in making investment decisions and by non-governmental organizations in developing funding proposals (Alzheimer's Society, 2014).
The second step is to conduct the community needs assessment, which includes the collection of both primary and secondary data and statistics related to the study. Primary data can be collected directly from the participants through interviews and health surveys (North Carolina DHHS, 2014). This stage is followed by analysis and interpretation of the collected data, the determination of health priorities, and finally, the development of community health action plans. The action plan will identify and prioritize the assets and needs of the Derbyshire community, develop and prioritize strategies for improvement, and create an action plan for top priority strategies.
Some of the challenges that could be encountered during the community needs assessment includes factors such as use of jargons that the survey sample may not understand; difficulties in accessing the target population for surveys, discussions or interviews; as well as difficulties in translating analyzed findings into effective and efficient health action plans (Cavanagh & Chadwick, 2015). However, proper planning can prove beneficial in addressing some of these challenges.
Key Issue: Healthcare Provision and Service Delivery to Dementia Patients in the UK
Dementia is a broad category of diseases of the brain that results in the long-term and mostly a gradual decrease in the ability to remember, think or perform day-to-day activities. It occurs when the cells of the cerebrum stop working legitimately (Alzheimer's Society, 2011). An individual with dementia could also experience symptoms such as difficulties with speech and language as well as emotional-related problems. Dementia takes many forms such as Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, and front temporal dementia, among others.
According to the World Health Organisation, Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia affecting sixty to seventy percent of dementia patients (WHO, 2019) and it is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among elderly people in the world, and more specifically in the United Kingdom. These conditions get worse with time since it is an irreversible malfunction of the brain's cells leading to mental incapacitation (Department of Health, 2009). However, there are medical interventions offered by multidisciplinary teams of professionals to assist dementia patients to enjoy a quality life.
Figure 1. The Number of People with Dementia in the UK compared to other European Countries (Alzheimer's Society, 2014).
There is an urgent need by the government to create strong and reliable policies to cater for the increasing population of the aged in the society. The occurrence of Dementia has some effects on the patients including but not limited to the dwindling in cognitive ability for the victims, low behavioral as well as psychological functioning (Dening, 2015). In most cases, past brain damage and illnesses such as strokes usually create an increased occurrence of dementia to patients (Vijayan & Reddy, 2016). The effects of dementia are vast; however, the most common ones include memory loss, loss of oratory skills, low proficiency in communication and poor problem-solving skills (Krogsboll et al., 2012). Symptoms are often associated with complications such as but not limited to agitation, anxiety, delusion, low appetite, rampant hallucinations as well as delusions (Cerejeira et al., 2012).
The rising rate of dementia in older patients has attracted the government's attention, more so with the impact, the disease has on the social and economic life of the country. Studies have shown that dementia has an immense social, psychological, physical and economic impact on those with the condition as well as their families (WHO, 2015). In terms of being an economic impact, the rising cases imply that there is a need for more investment towards the care of dementia patients. According to NHS England, the total cost of dementia and its care in the UK is about PS26 billion each year (NHS England, 2019). Two-thirds of this total cost (PS17.4 billion) are catered for by individuals with dementia and their families (Alzheimer's Society, 2014), indicating the great economic burden the condition has on individual families and the government. NHS England further states that the figure is expected to triple by the year 2040, and it will be much higher than the cost of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. From these statistics, it is; therefore, imperative that a reliable and long-term plan is formulated and implemented to curb the rising cases of dementia and its effects in the UK.
Figure 2. The Number of People with Dementia in the UK by Severity (Alzheimer's Society, 2014)A report on the Dementia UK report, the number of dementia patients in the UK in 2015 stood at 850,000 people (Alzheimer's Society, 2014). According to this data, it is estimated that the ratio as of 2015 was 1.3 percent of the overall population of the entire United Kingdom. The data further shows that the overall ratio of affected people takes more than 1.7 percent of the overall affected persons in the entire nation aged more than 65 years. In the entire country, the overall cost of treating dementia is more than PS4 billion for healthcare treatment (Maayan et al., 2014) while the government spends more than PS10 billion in social care and PS11 billion for unpaid care, which is quite vast.
As a response to the rising cases of dementia, the UK government has currently put in place sufficient support systems and relevant structures such as caregiving facilities for those with dementia as well as public health mechanisms such as policies and the provision of adequate resources in the form of budgets and workforce (NHS England, 2014). Even with the increasing cases of dementia across the globe, there are currently no approved cures or treatments for dementia or any of its forms (Lane & Tribe, 2010). Current efforts are only placed in managing the condition with some general practitioners saying that there are no clear solutions and treatment plans for dementia (Leach & Hicks, 2013). However, there are interventions by health professionals to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers. For instance, the treatments for Alzheimer's disease have been recommended by NICE (2011) to use Donepezil, Galantamine, and Rivastigmine to manage the symptoms during the mild to moderate stage and Memantine in the moderate to severe stages as evidence shows that these treatments can slow down the progression of the disease (NICE, 2011). These management strategies are known to control the progression of the disease from one stage to the other.
The incorporation of the non-pharmacological treatment strategies such strategies as the stimulation, dancing, and rampant message, animal-assisted therapy, therapeutic uses of music and aromatherapy has also been viewed by medical professionals to help in alleviating some of the symptoms of dementia (Gandesha et al., 2012). Poor quality of life is often associated when the individual caring for a family member with dementia is either elderly or battling a physical illness (Department of Health, 2009). According to Alzheimer's society (2007), dementia is not a natural part of the aging process and public health has a responsibility and obligation in ensuring that people with the condition receive the support that they nee...
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