Coronavirus (COVID-19) - dementia and COVID-19: action plan

This national action plan plan sets out how we will build on our national response to the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020 and how we will continue and expand that response in 2021 to continue to support recovery for people with dementia and their carers.

Responding to the pandemic

What we have done since March 2020

The Scottish Government, in partnership with our stakeholders, has since March 2020 taken a range of actions to support people with dementia and their families and carers, including:

  • Initial support for shielded and vulnerable groups;
  • Guidance for families on safe hospital visiting;
  • Supporting the retention and re-design of services and supports;
  • Support and guidance on the safe reopening of day services;
  • Dementia-proofing the national clinical guidance for care homes.

There are some additional specific things that we are doing do to build our understanding of and response to the pandemic and which are reflected in specific on-going commitments in this plan:

  • Work as part of the COVID-19 Excess Deaths study to understand the relationship between the virus and dementia.
  • A study in partnership with the Care Inspectorate to examine the use and review of psychoactive medication in care homes during the pandemic.
  • Support for the implementation of the Dementia COVID-19 Anticipatory Care Guidance.
  • Developing and implementing an equality impact assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia and their families across equalities categories with the addition of areas such as digital exclusion.

What we already knew about the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia and their families

  • Most of the 90,000 people in Scotland with dementia (Alzheimer Europe paper) live at home with around a third living in care homes. We know from hearing about and listening to their experiences that COVID-19 and the necessary restrictions on all our freedoms have had a disproportionate impact on people with dementia and on the stress, trauma and anxiety of those who care for them. Many people living in the community with dementia have experienced that their condition and overall wellbeing has deteriorated more quickly than would normally be expected.
  • Partners like Alzheimer Scotland, Age Scotland, The Life Changes Trust and service user and carer groups – as well as individuals who have shared their experiences around areas such as care home visiting and overall wellbeing - have highlighted their real concerns and evidence of impact. This impact is reflected for example in The Life Changes Trust report on the Learnings from Covid, and the Age Scotland report, Locked Down But Not Forgotten.



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