By Linda Belardi.
International healthcare organisation Bupa and global dementia federation Alzheimer’s Disease International have today launched a joint global dementia charter to outline the universal rights of people with dementia.
The 10-point ‘I can live well with dementia’ charter has been written from the perspective of someone living with dementia and sets out the global standard for quality dementia care and support.
From the right to a diagnosis and accurate information about the disease, to the right to have a say in the care provided and to have their end-of-life care wishes respected, the charter encompasses all stages of a person’s journey.
Margaret Ryan, Head of Dementia for Bupa Care Services Australia, said the charter would provide, for the first time, an international framework against which all governments and societies could measure their progress towards achieving best practice.
“It is a manifesto that we can use to outline what dementia care should look like across the globe and what every person diagnosed with dementia should expect from his or her care and treatment,” she said.
Ms Ryan said the document was akin to the Department of Health and Ageing’s own charter of residents’ rights and responsibilities, but it was specific to the needs of people with dementia both in care and in the community, and set out a globally agreed upon benchmark.
“These principles form the cornerstone of best practice care and for achieving an optimal quality of life, with the emphasis being on living with dementia,” she said.
As the largest international provider of specialist dementia care, Ms Ryan said Bupa is committed to working with Alzheimer’s Australia and ADI to raise the profile and understanding of this condition.
Glenn Rees, CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, said for Australia to meet these standards there needs to be a greater investment in the training of health professionals.
“It is critical doctors, GPs and nurses receive the skills required to diagnose the condition and care for people from the moment of diagnosis to end of life,” Mr Rees said.
“Unfortunately the fact is that time and again we hear horror stories about the inappropriate care received by people living with the condition especially in residential care,” he said.
The number of people in Australia living with dementia is set to increase by one third, from 321,600 to 400,000, in less than ten years.
Bupa and ADI are also calling on all governments around the world to develop national dementia plans to make dementia a national public health priority, as is the case in Australia.
At the moment, only nine countries – Australia, UK, US, Denmark, Finland, France, South Korea, Norway and the Netherlands – have a national dementia plan.
The global charter was simultaneously launched in the UK, where Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Disease International, representing 75 Alzheimer associations around the world, said national dementia plans are the single most impactful mechanism to shape national dementia care for a generation.
The campaign has also launched a YouTube video, which features individuals from all over the globe reading out the 10-point charter.
The charter is supported by a list of actions and accountabilities that outlines what families, friends, carers, healthcare professionals, and governments can do to improve dementia care and support in their country.
The 10 points of the global dementia charter are:
1. I should have access to a doctor to check if I have dementia.
2. I should have access to information about dementia so I know how it will affect me.
3. I should be helped to live independently for as long as I can.
4. I should have a say in the care and support that I am given.
5. I should have access to high-quality care that’s right for me.
6. I should be treated as an individual, with those looking after me knowing about my life.
7. I should be respected for who I am.
8. I should have access to medicine and treatment that helps me.
9. My end of life wishes should be discussed with me while I can still make decisions.
10. I want my family and friends to have fond memories of me.
To read the charter in full, visit: www.bupa.com/dementia