Finding the route to helping people with dementia – Alistair Burns

Professor Alistair Burns welcomes the launch of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Dementia Roadmap:

This innovation by the Royal College of General Practitioners will help colleagues in primary care support their patients diagnosed with dementia, their families and carers.

A lot of excellent information about dementia exists but GPs are incredibly busy and certainly don’t have the time to search for it from different sources during a consultation. The dementia roadmap will provide a one stop shop of local details of services, support groups and care pathways which everyone in primary care can access, and to where people with dementia, their families and carers can be referred.

The development of the Roadmap has been funded by the Department of Health and the work carried out by the Royal College of General Practitioners. It is a great example of a collaborative partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and the Strategic Clinical Network for Mental Health, Dementia and Neurological Conditions in the South West.

The dementia roadmaps will also:

Introduce questions about memory and general 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 people with dementia and their carers and 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. This can help to 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. This improved prevalence will impact positively on the practice’s Quality Outcomes Framework.

Use case finding approaches with colleagues to identify patients with cognitive impairment on the practice register in line with the enhanced Service for Dementia guidelines.

The RCGP is to be congratulated on developing such an innovative and user-friendly platform.

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