A Spatial Analysis of Community Support Services for Dementia in Edinburgh and the Lothians
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The focus of this research is to establish the equity of dementia community care services in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Such a study is important in order to evaluate if the Scottish Government, National Health Service and local authorities are meeting their shared objective of supporting dementia patients and their carers to live full lives in their communities. The research methods adopted were two-fold. First, an index of dementia likelihood was developed at the data zone level – using freely available population data – and a categorised list of services in the region was developed. These data sets were then analysed using GIS software to establish measures of locational and ‘effective’ access and judge the equity of distribution and an interactive web map was developed to display the findings. Results showed that equity was not achieved across the region where distribution was not even, with areas in both East and West Lothian scoring highly on the dementia likelihood index and having no appropriate drive-time access. It was also seen that service volume alone does represent meaningful access, with many areas having limited access to services based on activities and regularity of provision. As such it is recommended that authorities look to support the development of a wider range of services and invest in dementia friendly communities. Although this study provides an indication of the scenario, it is also suggested that understanding of service distribution equity could be enhanced by undertaking a broader study that incorporates population survey and also considers home care service provision.