On 1 July 2020, it was announced that the German Government has adopted a National Dementia Strategy. The Strategy was written by an alliance involving the Deutsche Alzheimer Gesellschaft (DAlzG) – the German Alzheimer Society, the states and municipalities, healthcare associations, the social security institutions, civil society and the scientific community.
The forerunner of the National Dementia Strategy was the "Alliance for People with Dementia", which had been initiated by the Federal Government in 2012 and implemented its agenda ‘Together for People with Dementia’ between 2014 and 2018. The report on the results of the implementation of the Alliance’s agenda was published in 2018.
Outline of key points
Following on from this work, four "Fields of Action" were identified as an overarching basis for the national dementia strategy:
- Developing and establishing dementia-inclusive communities to enable people with dementia to participate in society
- Supporting people with dementia and their relatives
- Advancing health and long-term care services for people with dementia
- Promoting excellent research on dementia
Under these four areas, are 27 objectives, with around 160 actions specific actions, including:
- On-site networks: Local networks to provide advice and support for people living with dementia and their families.
- Nursing care networks:In addition, regional (dementia) networks to better connect the actors involved in nursing care will be increased and intensified. The funds earmarked for this purpose from long-term care insurance are to be significantly increased.
- More focus on dementia: In order to encourage more involvement in, and focus on, the area of dementia, a nationwide campaign will be run, as part of which people will be invited to become "dementia partners" (Germany’s Dementia Friends programme).
- Post diagnostic support and counselling: Professional and voluntary support, as well as counselling services are being expanded.
- Care and employment networks: Relatives of people with dementia face particular challenges in balancing care and work. Employers, municipalities and carers are therefore to develop strategies and establish networks. This will be supported at government level.
- Promoting health for carers: Health and prevention programmes for carers will be further established and improved. A new funding programme is being considered to support this.
- Coordinated procedures in care:Doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other stakeholders are to cooperate and communicate with each other more clearly and efficiently through a developed “care pathway" interface.
- Dementia-inclusive hospitals:The needs of people with dementia are to be taken into account in the spatial design of hospitals and nursing homes and “dementia-inclusive” work processes and qualified staff will be put in place to better support people with dementia during hospital stays.
- Dementia research:Collaboration between different research institutions and areas will be promoted through the establishment of a national clinical dementia research network and a network for dementia care research. Access to data for research purposes will also be made easier.
In a joint statement, Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Franziska Giffey, Minister of Health Jens Spahn and Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek stressed: "Germany is ageing and more and more people are developing dementia. There are currently 1.6 million, and by 2050 the figure could be 2.8 million. We must prepare Germany for this, and that is what we are doing with the National Dementia Strategy. The condition concerns us all.
It is clear that this strategy will only be a success if everyone now joins in the implementation. We need a new awareness in all areas of life, social support networks on the ground, good medical care and first-class research. If everyone contributes, we will successfully implement the strategy."
The new strategy took effect effect in September 2020, with an assessment of the strategy planned for 2026.
Details on the German National Dementia Strategy, as well an news and developments related to the implementation of the strategy can be found at: https://www.nationale-demenzstrategie.de/
An English-language of the strategy is available to download below.