Services for people with dementia in the UK have developed piecemeal in the context of wider agency agendas. Health and social care agencies located in rural areas face particular challenges if they are to be able to support people with dementia within their communities. This article describes a piece of work carried out in three rural counties in East Anglia designed to map services across the statutory, voluntary and private sectors, and to describe the ways in which national policy is being interpreted to meet local need. Examples of innovative practice, as well as gaps in service design and delivery, were identified through an examination of local policy documents and qualitative interviews with strategic managers, frontline managers and practitioners, and local carers of people with dementia. The findings confirm that services for older people with dementia are under‐developed in comparison with services for older people generally, and in comparison with mental health services for working age adults. There are particular gaps with respect to rarer types of dementia, services for people with learning difficulties, and services for people from minority ethnic groups. Historically, a lack of strategic planning has meant that service development has been patchy and unco‐ordinated. Carers have been affected by a shortage of joined‐up information, high eligibility criteria and a change to short‐term working by practitioners. Nevertheless, the potential for developing community‐based and inclusive services for people with dementia is apparent, and the adaptability required of rural areas may, subject to further evaluation, provide a template for service development elsewhere.
McDonald, A. and Heath, B. (2008), "Developing services for people with dementia: Findings from research in a rural area", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 9-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/14717794200800023Download as .RIS
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