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Guidance for NHS continuing healthcare assessors

Evaluating the emotional and psychological needs for people in the later stages of dementia

We were really pleased at the Association for Dementia Studies to be approached by the Alzheimer’s Society to undertake work to develop guidelines on evaluating the emotional needs of people in later-stage dementia. This arose from discussions between Professor Clive Ballard, Samantha Sharpe and Professor Dawn Brooker about the difficult issues faced by the families of people living with dementia when their families and friends are undergoing assessment for Continuing Health Care (CHC) funding.

Some of the issues are centred on the wording and the interpretation of the wording in the assessment documentation. Also, staff who undertake these assessments usually do not have in-depth knowledge about supporting people with advanced dementia or knowledge of the particular individual being assessed. By their nature, CHC assessments tend to be with people who are living with advanced dementia and other long-term health problems and reside in care homes. These additional factors mean that this is a difficult assessment to undertake.

The resulting written guidelines that can be downloaded here for free. They are based on a review of the relevant literature, practice experience from CHC panels, the Alzheimer’s Society, family carers and feedback from nurses and student nurses working in different service settings.