Research shows people with dementia need better support services

April 8, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—People diagnosed with dementia in Norfolk and Suffolk need better access to support services according to a new report from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The NHS aims to increase the dementia diagnoses rate in England from the current level of 45 per cent to 66 per cent by the end of March 2015. In Norfolk and Suffolk the rate is already below the national average - ranging from 33.5 per cent to 42.9 per cent in the last quarter of 2013.

Published today, a new report looks at why dementia in Norfolk and Suffolk is going un-diagnosed, and investigates how GPs can be helped to meet Department of Health targets.

It is hoped that these findings could be used to help increase dementia diagnosis rates nationally.

Lead researcher Margaret Fox, from UEA's School of Rehabilitation Sciences, said: "GPs in Norfolk and Suffolk are currently diagnosing a below average number of cases. By this time next year, they will be expected to identify around 50 per cent more suspected cases for referral to memory clinics in order to reach the government dementia diagnosis target of 66 per cent.

"We surveyed over 400 GPs in 108 practices to try and find out why this was happening; 113 GPs responded to the survey. We found that GPs are confident in their ability to identify cases of dementia for onward referral. They also recognise the benefits to patients and their carers of a timely dementia diagnosis at an early stage of the disease.

"However, they reported concerns about the quality and availability of support for people after they are diagnosed, and their families.

"The low diagnosis rate may reflect a lack of confidence among GPs in the availability of . The survey revealed that GPs need better resources so that they can provide good advice to newly diagnosed patients and their carers and help sign-post them to existing services. We hope this would give doctors the confidence to increase diagnosis rates.

"This study has also identified a need to map the existing support services in the region for people with dementia and to identify gaps in services. This could then be used to shape a strategy for improving and developing services."

Recommendations include:

  • Creating a regional database of local memory and post-diagnosis support services.
  • Identifying best practice in memory and support services.
  • Developing a minimum standard of support for all patients diagnosed with dementia and their carers.
  • Identifying areas that do not meet minimum standards of support.

While diagnosis rates are lower than elsewhere in the country, GPs were found to be more positive about diagnosing than they were in 2009.

Explore further: Dementia patients need urgent support after diagnosis

More information: Fox, Margaret, Fox, C., Cruickshank, W, Penhale, Bridget, Poland, Fiona and Steel, Nicholas (2014)" Understanding the dementia diagnosis gap in Norfolk and Suffolk: a survey of general practitioners." Quality in Primary Care.

Related Stories

Dementia patients need urgent support after diagnosis

November 1, 2012
There is an urgent need for support from outside the family after diagnosis of dementia according to a study led by researchers from the University of Hertfordshire.

Dementia sufferers more likely to be diagnosed with urinary or fecal incontinence

August 27, 2013
Patients with a diagnosis of dementia have approximately three times the rate of diagnosis of urinary incontinence, and more than four times the rate of fecal incontinence, compared with those without a diagnosis of dementia, ...

New dementia diagnosis targets will lead to overdiagnosis

April 1, 2014
In a personal view published today, a general practitioner says that the new targets for diagnosing dementia will lead to more harm than good.

Extra support needed for younger dementia sufferers, report finds

December 6, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—The unique needs of people with younger onset dementia have been addressed for the first time in new research by the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC).

Accessible tourism and dementia

January 29, 2013
New Bournemouth University institute discovers new ways of making tourist attractions dementia-friendly.

GPs missing early dementia -- new study

June 20, 2011
New research from the University of Leicester demonstrates that general practitioners (GPs) are struggling to correctly identify people in the early stages of dementia resulting in both missed cases (false negatives) and ...

Recommended for you

Lifestyle changes to stave off Alzheimer's? Hints, no proof

July 20, 2017
There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.

Blood test identifies key Alzheimer's marker

July 19, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid in their ...

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

July 19, 2017
The old real estate adage about "location, location, location" might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Brain scans may change care for some people with memory loss

July 19, 2017
Does it really take an expensive brain scan to diagnose Alzheimer's? Not everybody needs one but new research suggests that for a surprising number of patients whose memory problems are hard to pin down, PET scans may lead ...

Can poor sleep boost odds for Alzheimer's?

July 18, 2017
(HealthDay)— Breathing problems during sleep may signal an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, a trio of studies suggests.

Hearing is believing: Speech may be a clue to mental decline

July 17, 2017
Your speech may, um, help reveal if you're uh ... developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.