Legislative and Policy Context
The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 provides the legislative framework for the integration of health and social care services in Scotland. It required local authorities and health boards to integrate adult health and social care services – including some hospital services. It provides a new opportunity to design and deliver integrated care to people with dementia.
Other legislation also supports people with dementia and their carers, including:
- The Carers (Scotland) Act (2016) sets out the entitlement of carers to assessment and care planning, with support options for people who meet eligibility criteria.
- The Social Work (Self Directed Support) Scotland Act (2013) confers upon people with assessed social care needs the right to exercise choice and control over how their care package is put together.
- The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 safeguards the interests of persons who lack capacity to make some or all decisions for themselves. It enables carers or others to have legal powers to make welfare, health care and financial decisions on their behalf.
Since 2007, dementia has been identified by the Scottish Government as a national priority. The new three year National Dementia Strategy (2017-20), sets out a number of commitments around post diagnostic support, coordinated service delivery, a strong focus on integrated working, improvements to palliative and end of life care, and a renewed focus on improving the care and support provided to people with dementia in group settings such as care homes and hospitals. The Standards of Care for Dementia describe the range of rights people with dementia and their carers have, and provides guidance to care providers in the standards to be met by all professionals involved in the care of people with dementia. These are:
- I have the right to a diagnosis
- I have the right to be regarded as a unique individual and to be treated with dignity and respect
- I have the right to access a range of treatment, care and supports
- I have the right to be as independent as possible, and to be included in my community
- I have the right to have carers who are well supported and educated about dementia
- I have the right to end of life care that respects my wishes.
These rights are central to the aims and values of the Western Isles Dementia Strategy.