Background

Although the prevalence of dementia in the UK has decreased over the last 20 years, with the ageing population the absolute number of people in the UK with dementia is predicted to reach 850,000 by 2015 (Alzheimer’s Society figures).

The economic cost of care is enormous and rising. The estimate of the current UK annual economic impact of dementia is £26.3 billion, with just under half attributed to the care provided by ‘informal carers’. The government has previously responded to this challenge by publishing a series of policy documents with the aim of improving dementia care.  In addition, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a quality standard for supporting people to live well with dementia, and guidance for commissioning dementia care.  The role of carers has been recognised by NICE and by NHS England.