Research details £42,500 cost of residential dementia care

New research due to be published in September is expected to reveal the true cost of providing residential nursing care for people with severe dementia.

Currently unpublished data from the modelling outcome and cost impacts of interventions for dementia (MODEM) study details that it costs £42,550 per person to care for severe dementia in a care home – over three times the £12,050 cost of care in the community for a person with a mild form of the condition.

Presenting the research to the recent Alzheimer’s Society annual conference, Martin Knapp professor of social policy at the London school of economics and political science (LSE) said that the major challenge facing social care is how to provide high-quality treatment and support at an affordable cost.

Latest estimates by LSE, which is producing the research with the Newcastle University Institute of Ageing and Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), suggest there were 650,000 people living with dementia in England in 2015, approximately 250,000 of whom are resident in care homes. This equates to a prevalence rate of 6.7 per cent in people aged 65+ years.

The research, which should be published in September, also highlights that 42 per cent of care home residents are self-funding. Professor Knapp speculates that this proportion is likely to increase as local authority funding becomes more scarce, particularly at the lower/moderate needs end of the spectrum. “It is good news that diagnosis rates are up, but there is immense pressures on primary and secondary care; access to services can be harder, which puts more pressure on social care and on family and other carers.”

The MODEM report aims to identify how the future costs and outcomes of the treatment of dementia will change if evidence-based interventions, including care home arrangements, are more widely implemented.

The research shows that there are increasing amounts of unpaid care provided to people in the community: up 9 per cent for people with severe dementia. “Will there be enough carers?” he asks.  “Families are getting smaller and may live some distance apart; female employment rates are higher: what will this do to the care gap?”

The MODEM report is also expected to call for “strong emphasis on prevention” and a “better service response to the needs of people with complex multimorbidity. “Between 2015 and 2035 the number of older people with four or more diseases will double; a third will have mental ill health. Two thirds or more of the gain in years of life at age 65 will be years spent with at least four long term conditions,” Professor Knapp says.

  • In a new report, Dementia the true cost: fixing the care crisis, the Alzheimer’s Society is campaigning for government action in three areas: cost; quality and access. Chief executive Jeremy Hughes  says:  “People are facing catastrophic costs to pay for their care and support. They struggle to access the vital care they need in the first place. Once people affected by dementia get support, their care is often poor quality.  In a message to care minister Caroline Dinenage, he said: “Dementia is the channel through which to achieve social care reform. A social care system that works for people with dementia can work for everyone.”
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