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2. Improve diagnosis rates and ensure a timely diagnosis for those with dementia

Context

Timely diagnosis for those with dementia, their carers and families will promote choice, allow them to plan for the life changes they will experience, and access support needed to maintain independence.

GP education and awareness raising has been a key focus in South Gloucestershire over recent years and diagnosis rates have increased. However more needs to be done to make people aware of the signs and symptoms of dementia and the help available, to encourage them to seek help and get access to timely treatment and support.

Ongoing work

Supporting GP practices to ensure that all people with memory concerns have a timely assessment, and diagnosis if appropriate.

Working with Avon and Wiltshire Partnership and other partners in the Strategic Clinical Network’s Dementia Improvement Group to enable us to demonstrate that people referred to the Memory Service for assessment receive their diagnosis within six weeks.

The Care Home Liaison service is developing its offer to care homes, a combination of support with the management of individual residents and training tailored to the needs of their staff.

We use the DLD dementia screening tool to establish a baseline and monitor people with Down Syndrome. For other learning difficulties we use the same assessment, but gain a baseline when changes are already indicated. We maintain a local data base to ensure that repeat DLDs are completed in a timely way and all changes are recorded to ensure people are supported through the dementia pathway.

Future plans

Build on the current GP knowledge base to improve the recognition of cognitive decline and normal changes with age.

Consider a self-referral clinic for people worried about their cognition.

Improve diagnosis pathway for younger people with dementia to ensure a timely diagnosis.

Investigate the feasibility of ongoing monitoring of people that have had a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment for potential progression to a dementia diagnosis.

Ensure collaboration between different services so that they are aware when someone may have a diagnosis of dementia (because the person with dementia may not remember this).

Ensure that undiagnosed cognitive impairment in secondary care or social care is reported back to the GP to investigate.

Continue to develop the message to the public that there are positive aspects to having a diagnosis including remaining ‘in charge’ of decisions by making and appointing a Lasting Power Of Attorney.

South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group will support GP practices to be recognised as ‘Dementia Friendly Surgeries’.

Sirona and other providers of community health and voluntary sector services will ensure that people with cognition concerns are offered screening tests and referral to their GP where appropriate.