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Slaying the demon. The dementia challenge: Progress and achievements

Henwood, Melanie; Butler, Terry; Pollard, Katherine

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Melanie Henwood

Terry Butler


There can be no doubt that the delivery of high quality care and support for patients and families living with dementia is a major challenge for health and social care services. As a nation we are living longer and we are seeing more people living with co-morbidities including dementia. Whilst our effort must remain on improving diagnostic and therapeutic interventions to treat and manage dementia, we must also be focused on supporting patients, families and carers who are living and coping with dementia on a daily basis. They need co-ordinated support and high quality services now, not the promise of improvements in the future. It was within this context that the NHS South Strategic Health Authority invested and commissioned work to advance innovation and identification of best practice across provider services in the South of England. We recognised that there was much to be proud of, but our challenge was to highlight best practice and innovation and share that with wider audiences and encourage adoption of excellence.
This important report provides a valuable window on the work that is currently being developed across the South of England and in a wide range of services. The projects and programmes are extremely diverse, and are at different stages of development. We are continuing to learn about what works and what doesn’t. Many of the projects are multi-agency and all are actively engaged in partnership working across disciplines and - importantly - are working closely with patients and carers. The work is not easy, and unfortunately structural re-organisations and reform of the NHS and Social Care, and continuing funding challenges, have caused some delays in progressing the projects. However, the commissioners and authors of the report believe it is of vital importance to share the findings thus far, whilst recognising that many of the projects are still on-going and will continue to develop. Our aim is simple – we want to encourage dialogue and sharing in a field of research and practice that is engaging with one of the greatest health and social care challenges of our time. We believe that further investment and research is clearly needed but we also recognise that by adopting best practice now across all organisations we can also help those patients, families and carers who need high quality services and support today and tomorrow. We must continue to invest, research and advance our knowledge and understanding in the dementia field, but as we do we must apply our findings to our daily practice and not ignore the small interventions that can improve the lives of so many on a daily basis. This report is designed to support practitioners, commissioners, delivery agents, patients and carers by shining a light on the best practice and innovations we have found today. Please engage with it, share it, and adopt the best.


Henwood, M., Butler, T., & Pollard, K. (2015). Slaying the demon. The dementia challenge: Progress and achievements

Report Type Project Report
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Feb 3, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2016
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords dementia challenge, dementia friendly communities, dementia care in hospitals and care homes, improving diagnosis of dementia, end of life care, better support for carers of people with dementia
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