Spanish Dementia policy

The Neurodegenerative Diseases Strategy, promoted by the Ministry of Health (MH) in collaboration with the Health Regions (HR), scientific societies and patient organizations, was approved in 2016 to improve care quality, promote greater equity and cohesion within the National Health System.

The Strategy includes eight items: prevention and early detection, health assistance, support to caregivers, social-health coordination, patient autonomy, citizen participation, professionals’ training, and investigation.

A budget line was provided to the HR in 2018 and 2019 for the Strategy’s development. Many of the HR has been focused on dementia projects:

  • To improve health assistance: The HR develop clinical routes/ care networks for an effective care levels coordination. E.g. a Health Care Plan for people with dementia (Catalonia), a Care Process for Alzheimer’s patients (Valencia), a Strategic Care Plan for Alzheimer and other dementias (Galicia), and a Comprehensive Plan for Neurodegenerative Diseases (Castilla León).
  • To support caregivers, promoting their training, preventing and addressing their exhaustion: a telecare web platform for patients with cognitive decline (Cantabria and Castilla La Mancha), a training course for dementia’s caregivers (Galicia), and “Al Lado” Strategy (Andalusia).
  • To promote social-health coordination: The HR establish social-health models to support patients and their families. E.g. an Integrated Care model through collaborative management with social services (Baleares Islands), and an Integrated Healthcare Model for nursing homes (Catalonia).
  • To enhance professionals training: the HR develop a continuous Training Plan for all professionals who take care of neurodegenerative diseases patients. E.g. training in comprehensive approach to dementia’s psychological and behavioural symptoms (Andalusia), and training in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias care at primary care (Valencia).

Other HR have also deployed dementia projects without this funding, e.g. a Dementia Care Program (Navarra) and a Guide for a Dementia-Friendly House (País Vasco).

The Spanish Network of Agencies for Assessing Health Technologies has carried out an analysis of Cognitive Training Effectiveness. Furthermore, a Clinical Guide on Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer and other Dementias is currently being updating by Guía Salud Group.

In addition, a National Plan for Alzheimer and other Dementias was approved on October 2019 and it is under development by the Social Rights Ministry. The MH has collaborated in the Plan’s design regarding: primary prevention, diagnosis, integrated care, treatment, and information/training / counselling after diagnosis.