DementiaRoadmap

Helping primary care to support people with dementia

Peer support networks and dementia advisers: evaluation

October 9 2013
Peer support networks

This report, published by the Department of Health, provides the findings of the Healthbridge evaluation into the role that dementia advisers and peer support networks can provide in post diagnostic support for people with dementia and their carers.

The evaluation recommends that Commissioners ensure recognition for, and further development of, the conditions under which services providing peer support and dementia advice and information flourish.

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The services established in the demonstrator sites demonstrate that they have been driven by a person and relationship centred focus, and with a strong orientation to public health approaches. The  services have the potential to facilitate people and relationships with an important focus on building social networks and sharing information, supporting the re-narration of people’s lives and enhancing people’s control of their lives and their dementia. Achieving this potential requires them to be in an organisational space that allows them to work in partnership and collaboration with other services, and which values their distinct knowledge of their communities. In establishing the services, more attention was paid to the ‘needs space’ than to this ‘organisational space’’ and as a result, for some, inter-organisational conflicts and tensions were present.

Key messages

  • people with dementia and carers saw dementia advisers and peer support networks as having a positive impact on their wellbeing and quality of life
  • demonstrator sites provided evidence of both dementia advisers and peer support networks filling a gap in service provision that often occurs after diagnosis but before there is a need for more intensive support
  • both initiatives were seen as having resource saving implications for the local health and social care economy

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