‘Psychological Dimensions of Dementia: Putting the person at the centre of care’, is the BPS’s first position statement on the issue, and was produced by the working group on dementia which included clinical and academic psychologists and neuropsychologists.
The report was officially launched at the Senedd, which is the home of the National Assembly for Wales by Labour AM Lynne Neagle who chairs the Cross Party Group on Dementia and is an active campaigner on the condition.
In launching the report, Lynne was joined by Professor Kinderman and Professor Bob Woods, a member of the BPS Working Group and Professor of Clinical Psychology of Older People and Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
The event was well attended by both clinical and academic psychologists, as well as major stakeholders including Age Concern, Dementia Friends and the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.
There was also significant cross-party representation, which included Plaid Cymru AM Dr Dai Lloyd, Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee.
A practising GP, Dr Lloyd particularly stressed the need for society as a whole to place a greater value on care in the community, and on patients themselves, calling for an appraisal of what constitutes good care.
All attendees were in agreement that people living with dementia should not be at risk of feeling isolated and dislocated which is why maintaining a sense of control, identity and connection must be a key focus as dementia progresses.
There has already been progress in communities across Wales on the formation of ‘Dementia Friendly Communities’ which has resulted in increased respect and empathy, yet it was agreed that major challenges still remain if we are to change the culture of society. Professor Kinderman was keen to stress the role of politicians in this, and the importance of putting the necessary social mechanisms in place to do so.
The report does however come at an opportune moment, as the Welsh Government is currently consulting on its future dementia strategy for Wales.
Professor Woods emphasised the need for a strong BPS response to the strategy and also the need to ensure that people’s active and meaningful involvement in and engagement with decisions about their own lives, as well as in planning and evaluating the services they receive are maintained.
Details of the consultation can be found here:
Vicki Evans is an Account Manager at Deryn Consulting Ltd, with over twelve years of experience in the Welsh political arena, working for politicians in Cardiff Bay and Westminster and on Assembly and General Election campaigns.
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