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The tech revolution: dementia care’s time has come

Dear Prime Minister

Has the tech revolution forgotten about dementia care?

With Alzheimer’s and dementia remaining the number one cause of death throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we write to urge the government to recognise that the time has come for it to accept the enormous potential for the 21st century’s tech revolution to significantly improve the delivery and monitoring of high quality care for the thousands of people living with dementia.

As a provider of medical technology, PainChek is passionate about alleviating the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and has witnessed first-hand how technology can help improve and transform the lives of those living with it.

This letter represents the shared commitment from across the health and social care sector to focus on improving the care for people with dementia and those who support them, giving them the opportunity and means to maximise the potential for technology and innovation.

Dementia has become one of the most important health and social care issues for the UK and indeed across the world. COVID-19 has accelerated the uptake of many technologies across social care, and the government must have seen the benefits that tech has brought to enabling the provision of virtual and remote care, and monitoring the health of people – many of whom are the most vulnerable in society – in care homes and their own homes. Where introduced and utilised, the power of tech has played a critical role in facilitating better health outcomes for care home residents, with point-of-care recording and powerful reporting that reduce the administrative burden on care home staff and equips them with the means and information to better care for and treat residents.

Technology is capable of revolutionising the experience and care for people living with dementia in a way no one thought possible five years ago when the Dementia 2020 Challenge Report was published. At that time, the Report gave real hope that the government was serious about tackling dementia, as it set out what it wanted to see in place by 2020 in order for England to be:

  • the best country in the world for dementia care and support and for people with dementia, their carers and families to live;
  • the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The Report explained this would be based on around 50 specific commitments to make England the ‘world-leader in dementia care, research and awareness by 2020’, across four themes: risk reduction, health and care, awareness and social action, and research, and how these were to be met, the priority actions, and the organisation responsible for implementation.

Without targeted, long-term financial support, it is highly likely that Alzheimer’s and dementia will remain the country’s silent, biggest killer, significantly impacting the lives of thousands across the UK. Now is the time for dedicated government support and investment that will at last enable the social care sector to truly benefit from, adopt and roll-out, innovative technology that supports the care of people living with dementia, to bring the sector in-line with the digital revolution already seen in many areas of the public and private sectors.

Now is the time for the government to modernise its strategy for dementia care provision, and the aims of the Dementia 2020 Challenge, by refreshing its objectives and goals so that these are relevant and fit for purpose today, and tomorrow.

This is why we have launched ‘The tech revolution: dementia care’s time has come’ campaign. This already has a wide coalition of support from health and social care organisations including National Care Forum and Care England.

This cohort is united in its goals, and is now calling on government to:

  • Commit to creating an Innovation Grant for social care providers to help and support them to adopt and roll-out innovation and technology that supports the care of people living with dementia and brings the funding of the care of people living with dementia in social care in-line with the funding made available to the health and healthcare sectors.
  • Review the status and progress of the commitments set out in the Dementia 2020 Challenge to refocus attention and resources on how these are to evolve post-COVID and critically, how dementia care will embrace the power of innovation and the tech revolution and take a digital-first strategy age in a new ‘What next for Dementia 2025 and Beyond’ report.

We understand that the government continues to work tirelessly to tackle the effects of the pandemic, but we ask that it looks at the country’s silent, biggest killer, and ethically, recommits to the objectives set out in the Dementia 2020 Challenge and takes necessary action.

Yours sincerely

PainChek UK Team

To learn more about this campaign, please contact drew.hunt@painchek.com