Mismanagement of Dementia Costing UK's Health and Social Care System Up to £1 Billion a Year
A new report by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) demonstrates that a failure to prevent, diagnose, and treat depression, diabetes, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) in people with dementia could be costing the UK's health and social care system up to nearly £1 billion per year.
The report, "Dementia and Comorbidities: Ensuring Parity of Care," which was supported by Pfizer, shows that people with dementia are less likely to have cases of depression, diabetes, or UTIs diagnosed, and those that do are less likely to receive the same help to manage and treat these comorbidities.
This lack of parity can lead to people's dementia worsening more quickly leading to greater health and social care costs. ILC-UK demonstrate an annual total net loss of up to approximately £994.4 million for just the following three conditions:
The report also finds that the failure to prevent, diagnose, and treat comorbidities in people with dementia is leading to this group having a reduced quality of life and an earlier death than people who have the same medical conditions, but do not have dementia. It highlights the following:
The ILC-UK identifies the following six key areas which appear to be leading to the discrepancy in health outcomes for people with dementia and comorbidities:
The ILC-UK have set out the following seven recommendations which will help to ensure that parity occurs:
Baroness Sally Greengross, chief executive of the ILC-UK, says, " It is an absolute scandal that doctors, nurses, and health care workers are too often failing to see people living with dementia as more than simply this disease. As such our health system is too often failing to prevent, diagnose, and treat comorbidities among people with dementia. This failure has a devastating impact on quality of life, and results in earlier deaths. A failure to prevent adds avoidable financial pressures to our cash strapped health service."
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer's Society, says, "The reality for many people with dementia is that they have to contend with other long-term conditions, all of which greatly impact their quality of life. As this report highlights, to view dementia in isolation not only makes poor economic sense, but can cause unnecessary suffering. While initiatives to integrate health and social care services are a step in the right direction, it is clear government plans need to go much further to truly meet the needs of people with dementia and other health conditions.
"Alzheimer's Society is working with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia to better understand the experiences of people living with dementia and other conditions. Our report is due later this month."
Roz Schneider, MD, global patient affairs lead at Pfizer, says, "This report clearly highlights disparities in care and health outcomes that are associated with people living with dementia who also have comorbid illnesses. Patients and their caregivers, as well as others in their support community, can provide subtle yet critical insights about medical changes that affect these patient's lives. Such a collaborative approach could lessen or avoid the progression of some comorbid conditions. That is why this expanded care community stand ready to partner with health care teams in order to advance these important health care conversations and care decisions."
Source: International Longevity Centre – UK