Daughter fears her mother's health will 'spiral' after dementia care review is launched in Northamptonshire

Sylvia and Lynn Johnson at their home in Kingsthorpe. Lyn fears her mother's specialist dementia team will be lost as part of a review of county council contracts.
Sylvia and Lynn Johnson at their home in Kingsthorpe. Lyn fears her mother's specialist dementia team will be lost as part of a review of county council contracts.

A decision to review the use of a specialist dementia carer team across Northamptonshire could have a drastic effect on those suffering from the condition, a worried daughter believes.

Barclaycard worker Lynn Johnson looks after her mother at her bungalow in Kingsthorpe every evening and relies on the support of an Olympus Care team for help.

The specialist dementia carers come in three times a day to get 85-year-old Sylvia out of bed, dressed, fed and supplied with medication throughout the day.

But Northamptonshire County Council is set to launch a review of the contracts it holds with its domiciliary dementia care providers.

A letter sent out to users of the service assures them that their service "will continue, but it may mean different people support you in the future."

But Lynn, 63, says this of great concern to her and others in her situation.

She fears her mother's team - who have specific skills for dealing with dementia - will be replaced by a general care agency to cut costs.

"The problem with dementia sufferers is that they need to have a regular set of people come in because they are aware they feel comfortable with that person," she said.

"And if the carers themselves know that person, they know when they have taken the next step down the dementia ladder.

"I am worried she is not going to have consistency- she is not going to have that rapport with a specialist team who are capable of washing her and getting her fed."

The county council is set to launch details of the consultation next month, which it will run until January.

But against a background of major cost-saving measures at County Hall and a promised slashing of contracts to reduce overheads, Lynn fears the worst.

"Since we have had this team looking after my mother she hasn't been in hospital," she said. "I think with this level of change her condition is going to spiral and her health is going to suffer."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “As part of a review of all council services it is proposed that a consultation will soon take place into how dementia domiciliary care is provided in the county.

“Next month the council’s cabinet will hear a report about the proposal which, if approved, will mark the start of the consultation.

“The review of the dementia domiciliary care service is not about a change in the level of care but about how it is provided and by whom.

“The consultation will allow people to give their views. It is scheduled to take place between November and January, with a final decision by Cabinet in February 2019.”