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Meeting the challenge of dementia

Amanda Buttery, Innovation Fellow, and Farooq Ahmed, Associate Clinical Director for Health Ageing, presented at the Public Policy Exchange Forum on 28 February 2017, sharing insights on the HIN’s work in raising dementia awareness.

The Public Policy Exchange holds regular interactive seminars which provide an invaluable interface for policy discussion, debate and the opportunity to feed into future policy development. Chaired by Phil Freeman, the Executive Lead from the Dementia Action Alliance, the event was on Meeting the Challenge of Dementia: Assessing National Progress and Developing Community Initiatives to Provide High-Quality Care, Support and Information.

Amanda presented on the progress in training and education and raising dementia awareness following the publication of the Cavendish Review in 2013. She shared the work undertaken by the Health Innovation Network in raising dementia awareness in care homes through Barbara’s Story, a film and training programme developed by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, endorsed by Health Education England. Farooq highlighted achievements in improving dementia diagnosis rates in south London, particularly in Merton, over the past four years and how the DeAR-GP tool is helping improve dementia diagnosis in care homes and improve communication with GPs.

Delegates heard from the National Clinical Director for Dementia, Professor Alistair Burns and policy leaders from Alzheimer’s Society and Alzhiemer’s Research UK about the progress made with the Medical Research Council to establish a national UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) in fulfilment of the ambition identified in Prime Minister’s 2020 Challenge on Dementia. The DRI will lead the UK’s dementia research efforts aimed at transforming the treatment and care that people with dementia receive, as well as lead the way in identifying risk reduction strategies for future generations. The great work on modelling the outcomes and cost impacts of interventions for dementia, Modem, led by the London School of Economics and Political Science highlights the progress in evidence-based interventions and resources now available. Carers contributed to the debate and innovative projects like START (STrAtegies for RelaTives), an evidence-based psychological intervention for carers, promoting coping strategies for carers was emphasised.

The day concluded with a great discussion led by Chris Roberts, the Vice Chair of the European Working Group of People with Dementia  who lives with mixed dementia (Alzheimer’s type and vascular) and his contributions to the Dementia Guideline Review committee for NICE and his advocacy work in ensuring inclusion and  human rights for all those living with dementia.