What is the DCAN Network?

We believe in the power of personalised care and support, delivered by mindful and supportive professionals. But it doesn’t stop there. We also recognise the importance of providing individuals, families, and informal networks with the space, time, and support they need to explore their capabilities and exercise their own agency. Great dementia care is a collective effort, not an heroic one.

The NHS plays a crucial role in the journey towards improved dementia support. From health promotion and timely diagnosis to personalised post-diagnostic support and end-of-life care, the NHS is instrumental in supporting individuals and their families.

Our network explores how NHS England’s Universal Personalised Care can enhance the support provided to people with dementia. Together, we can unlock the potential of the six components of personalised care, bringing about the change and improvement that has long been anticipated.
However, we also understand that a truly meaningful life cannot be fully delivered by even the most personalised health system. That’s why our focus extends beyond the healthcare setting. We believe in the power of mutual support and the unique relationships that form between people, families, neighbourhoods, and communities. By leveraging everyday technologies like voice assistants and mobile devices, as well as specialized technology-enabled care, we can enhance the lives of individuals with dementia.

We also acknowledge the vital role played by national charities, local voluntary community organizations, social enterprises, and social care providers in helping individuals live personalised, connected lives with dementia. They help bridge the gap between essential care and support needs and the pursuit of what is most vital and meaningful in people’s lives.

Universal Personal Care is an NHS England and Improvement plan laying out how these changes will be implemented across England. It details a comprehensive model made up of 6 connected components. These are:

Shared decision making (see factsheet): People are supported to understand the care, treatment and support options available and the risks, benefits and consequences of those options, and to make a decision about a preferred course of action, based on evidence-based, good quality information and their personal preferences.

Personalised care and support planning (see factsheet): People have proactive, personalised conversations which focus on what matters to them, delivered through a six-stage process and paying attention to their clinical needs as well as their wider health and wellbeing.

Enabling choice, including legal rights to choice: Enables choice of provider and services that better meet people’s needs, including legal rights to choice in respect of first outpatient appointments, and suitable alternative provider if people are not able to access certain services within the national waiting time standards.

Social prescribing and community-based support (see factsheet)Enables all local agencies to refer people to a ‘link worker’ to connect them into community-based support, building on what matters to the person as identified through shared decision making / personalised care and support planning, and making the most of community and informal support.

Supported self-management (see factsheet): Increasing the knowledge, skills and confidence a person has in managing their own health and care through systematically putting in place interventions such as health coaching, self-management education and peer support.

Personal health budgets and integrated personal budgets (IPB) (see factsheet): An amount of money to support a person’s identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between them and their local CCG. May lead to integrated personal budgets for those with both health and social care needs. This isn’t new money, but a different way of spending health funding to meet the needs of an individual.

Watch the animation below to see how these components will work together to transform how people experience health services. Our Dementia Change Action Network will help NHS understand how to ensure these universal changes benefit the lives of people with dementia and those who love and care for them.

To learn more about how DCAN is making personalised care for people with dementia a reality, or to get involved, join us today.

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