Dementia Roadmaps improving local care
Dementia Roadmap Team
Dr Jill Rasmussen, Clinical Lead and RCGP Clinical Champion for Dementia
Rowan Purdy, Technical Lead
Carrie Morgan, Project Manager
Timely diagnosis and access to post diagnosis support are critical factors in enabling people to live well with dementia throughout their dementia journey. The Alzheimer's Society's 'Right to Know' campaign is pressing the Government and NHS to ensure all people with dementia are given adequate support to come to terms with their diagnosis and manage their condition. Getting a diagnosis and access to support continue to be a challenge. This is despite the availability in many areas of good quality information and increasing sources and methods of support because accessing this support is often time-consuming and complex.
The Dementia Roadmap is a web based platform that provides high quality information about the dementia journey alongside local information about services and care pathways to assist primary care staff to more effectively support people with dementia and cognitive impairment, their families and carers. The project was initiated during the RCGP Dementia Clinical Priority programme (April 2012 - March 2015) and developed in collaboration with the Department of Health and the Alzheimer's Society. The design and parameters for content were informed through consultation with primary care staff and commissioners.
The web based platform is populated with a wide range of national resources (common to all Roadmaps) and local information that supports the creation of local Dementia Roadmaps to deliver a range of benefits to support primary care from the point of initial concern and throughout the dementia journey. Resources include both guidance and tools to support clinical practice as well as information about services and community resources and how and where these can be accessed by health professionals, people with dementia, their family and carers.
Though conceived as a platform to assist primary care, the local Roadmaps can be populated as comprehensive sources of information for anyone concerned about dementia. The Dementia Roadmap design allows easy access by computer, tablet or smart phone.
Users of the local Dementia Roadmaps report that it is helping them to provide better support after diagnosis and they use the information the Roadmap to reassure patients and their carers by signposting them to local support, seeing it as an extremely useful resource for anyone wanting to know more about dementia and local resources.
Local Dementia Roadmaps deliver a range of benefits to GPs, primary health and social care professionals, people worried about their memory problems, people living with dementia, their carers and families.
The Dementia Roadmaps help people to:
- Introduce questions about memory functioning in scheduled visits and routine health checks and investigations for people identified as potentially at risk.
- Assess and identify patients who present with symptoms suggestive of dementia, signposting them to relevant resources or services.
- Reassure patients and their carers or families at diagnosis and during the dementia journey by signposting them to local resources, information and support.
- Promote positive messages about remaining independent and living with dementia.
- Prevent unnecessary admission to hospital for patients with memory problems in crisis.
- Provide support for carers to maintain their health and wellbeing and provide opportunities for respite for the person they care for.
- Support patients more efficiently, thereby reducing multiple or repeat appointments.
- Refer patients onto specialist services where appropriate.
- Keep accurate records coding patients who present with memory problems appropriately; improving prevalence impacts positively on practice outcomes.
- Use case finding approaches in primary care to identify patients with cognitive decline on the practice register in line with DES guidelines.
A Dementia Roadmap for your area?
Following the launch of the Dementia Roadmap in May 2014, a national rollout is underway and local Roadmaps are proving their value in locations across England whether for conurbations or more dispersed and rural communities.
Roadmap footprints may cover a whole CCG or local authority population and are determined by what fits best with the local planning and service arrangements. The clinical lead for dementia in the CCG is the key contact for taking one forward for your area.
More information including film tours of the Dementia Roadmap can be found here.
The RCGP One Day Essentials Dementia Conference in London on Tuesday 17 March 2015 will provide expert specialist clinical and essential information on dementia care. For more information, and to book your place, click here.