Caring for someone with dementia? You can now find support more quickly

Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging, and carers often report feelings of guilt, confusion, and anger. We spoke to carers across Bristol to find out what help they needed, and put together a resource to help them access support.
A woman standing outside, smiling

There are almost five thousand people in Bristol living with dementia, and many are cared for by family or friends. Based on what the carers we spoke to told us, we produced a directory to help them gain advice and support more easily. Our research findings have also been published by Bristol City Council to inform and guide the public and NHS services.

The directory, or 'Dementia Carers Support Map', sets out what support is available, and how it can be accessed - both locally and nationally. It covers every stage of caring for someone with dementia, from diagnosis to bereavement and loss.

You can view our Dementia Carers Support Map directory by clicking here.

This is so insightful and it's great to see it all pulled together for identifying and supporting carers.
— Dr Julie Clayton, Public & Patient Involvement and Engagement, Bristol University and Bristol Health Partners Project Manager for the Dementia Health Integration Team

To demonstrate to decision-makers what changes needed to be made at a higher level to support carers, we also used our research to compile a report. Our recommendations for the future of dementia care support included the development of a free, accessible befriending service, access to counselling in the community, and flexible appointments to meet the needs of carers.

In the report, we also highlighted the need for improved communication – for instance, the availability of a carer that speaks the same language as the patient – which has been raised with local health partners. The report has been referenced in Bristol City Council's most recent update to the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). 

I can manage, it's just sometimes I get so tired, and it would be nice to talk to someone … someone who wouldn’t judge and that.
— 'A' (58), caring for husband

The JSNA is an overview of the changing health and wellbeing needs in Bristol, and Healthwatch Bristol has been involved with it since it was introduced by the council in 2012. It covers everything from breastfeeding and perinatal mental health to fuel poverty and air quality, identifies health inequalities in the city, and outlines gaps in services.

Health and social care commissioners (such as the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group) use the JSNA to inform decisions about how local services are delivered.

If you would like to read our full report, 'Caring for someone with dementia: a unique journey', click here.

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