We’re getting better at dealing with dementia

Published on: 02 Jun 2014

DOCTORS in the Downend area say services for people with dementia are improving rapidly.

Dr Peter Bagshaw, of the NHS South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said waiting times for referrals had dropped dramatically from 34 weeks to around six weeks and diagnosis rates were now at 54 per cent, compared with 48-49 per cent nationally.

Support available locally for people living with dementia includes assessment and treatment in GP surgeries, post diagnosis support for patients and their families and patient information and support.

Dr Bagshaw said: “It is estimated there are 3,400 people living with dementia in South Gloucestershire and this is set to double in the next 30 years.

“The number of patients being diagnosed with dementia and receiving rapid access to medication and support has improved dramatically over the past year because of new ways of working we have put in place. There has been a huge energy and commitment around transforming care for those with memory problems in South Gloucestershire.

“We have a very successful new service involving GPs, nurses, psychologists and specialist doctors from the Memory Service. This can assess and treat people in the GP surgery, and also provides support for patients and their families.”

The CCG has developed an Information Prescription for GPs and others to give to people diagnosed with dementia and their family and friend. The leaflet details key services and organisations in South Gloucestershire where people can access information and support.

It has been developed with Alzheimer’s Society, South Gloucestershire Council, Avon and Wiltshire Partnership’s Memory Service, Wellaware and the Guideposts Trust and can be found via www.southgloucestershireccg.nhs.uk and www.southglos.gov.uk.

The CCG also works with other organisations to organise Living Well with Dementia roadshows designed for people recently diagnosed with dementia, their families and carers. The next takes place from on Thursday, June 26 at BAWA Health & Leisure in Filton.

Dr Bagshaw added: “Being diagnosed with dementia can leave the person and their family with lots of questions about what they can expect and what they can do to plan for the future. The roadshows provide useful information to help answer these questions and give reassurance that people with dementia are not on their own.

“As well as continuing to improve services and support, we must all work to reduce the stigma around dementia and encourage people to go to their GP for early diagnosis. If you think you have problems with your memory, just have a conversation with your GP. An early diagnosis means that we can start to help. We can offer medication and provide patients, their families and carers access to a wide range of support services in the community to improve their quality of life.”

South Gloucestershire Council has worked with Alzheimer’s Society, people with dementia and their partners to produce a video about living well with dementia

The video can be found via http://youtu.be/A094lAujTtg.

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