Early diagnosis of dementia

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

Continue to increase the rate of diagnosis, agree a diagnosis pathway for dementia that complies with the Dementia Standards and enhance current provision of post diagnostic support to achieve the Post Diagnostic Heat Target.

What you did?

Angus continues to work to increase the number of people newly diagnosed with dementia; currently 68% (Eurodem,) with focussed work continuing with GP’s and Practice Managers. An Angus prototype diagnosis pathway is being developed. It is hoped this will inlcude an online resource for professionals, users and carers so that they are aware of what to expect with regard to standards and pathway when dementia is suspected.  We are increasing/improving access to specialist post diagnostic support for everyone diagnosed with dementia and their families.  Specifically:

  • In 2004 acknowledged the need for specialist post diagnostic support – 1 WTE practitioner. Current increase in the number of people diagnosed – service required to expand. Second worker appointed to Post Diagnostic Service via the Change Fund. We have trained post diagnostic support workers in counselling skills and post diagnostic interventions training.
  • Worked with GP’s to facilitate the inclusion of newly diagnosed patients with dementia into their DEM1 register by personalised communication and regular monitoring.
  • Engaged with stakeholders to design, test and develop agreed pathway

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

  • More people diagnosed which led to an increase in the use of anti cholinesterase inhibitors and other preventative medical intervention e.g. treatment of cardiovascular risks factors.
  • This led to benefits of early intervention and post diagnostic support e.g.: future planning – Advance Care Planning, financial assistance – benefits, legal issues – Power of attorney, driving and dementia information, memory mastering techniques, counselling and family support, sharing diagnosis, community involvement.
  • Increase in referral rates for Post Diagnostic Support.
  • Decrease in number of days between referral received and first contact – now 3.7 days average.
  • Increase in number of Power of Attorney’s being undertaken proactively.
  • Increase in the number of benefits claimed.
  • Increase in the provision of peer support groups across the county.
  • Increased partnership working with Alzheimer Scotland.
  • Increased awareness of availability of post diagnostic support.
  • Positive user and carer feedback

Contacts - to find out more

Cesar Rodriguez, crodriguez@nhs.net

Lorraine Young,  youngl@angus.gov.uk ; Mandy Warden, mandywarden@nhs.net