It is important to support people with dementia to be prepared for what will happen. Practices can help with this by providing information about the programme that is easy to understand.
Details of vaccination clinics
- Where and when.
- How appointments are arranged.
Details about the vaccination process
- Step by step process from arrival to departure.
Information about access
Decisions about whether to have the vaccine?
The vaccine is not compulsory but is recommended, especially for people at highest risk of catching the infection and of suffering serious complications if they catch it. This will include many people living with dementia who are over 65 and/or will be living with other long term health conditions.
People should decide for themselves whether to have it. People with dementia may need help from family, carers in making the decision.
The NHS guide for older adults leaflet provides information to help people decide. It covers:
- side effects
- vaccine safety and effectiveness
- who is at highest risk
The vaccination journey
- Check in at reception.
- Clinical assessment.
- Queue for vaccine.
- Receive your vaccine.
- Post-vaccination area.
- Wait for 15 minutes.
Before the vaccine is given, consent must be obtained from the person receiving it.
If they are unable to give consent, then consent must be obtained via a best interest decision (which is compliant with the Mental Capacity Act 2005).
- If a family member has registered lasting power of attorney (LPA) for health and welfare for the person with dementia, they can make health decisions on their behalf, including whether they should receive vaccinations.
- If there is no LPA for health and welfare in place, then healthcare professionals must make a decision in the person’s best interests (based on previous wishes and consultation with those who know the person with dementia).
All consent has to be documented and the government has provided templates for this. Dementia UK has a list of frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Statements that might be helpful
Some of the below statements may be helpful to support a person with dementia and help them feel more comfortable about having the vaccine:
- “The injection is to protect you from the COVID-19 virus.”
- “The injection won’t give you the COVID-19 virus.”
- “Some people can get a sore arm, headache or fever after the injection.”
- “I would like your permission to give you the vaccine.”
Signposting advice for patients, family and carers
- Alzheimers Society: advice and links for people with dementia, their families and carers.
- Dementia UK: advice and links for people with dementia, their families and carers.
- NHS England: guidance on the COVID-19 vaccine.