Dr Chris Kipps – Dementia. Younger people, brain scans and how we are trying to understand the bigger picture

So it’s been a few months since the last update on our work, so where are we now?

Well our Younger Onset Dementia Assessment project is now starting to interview patients, carers and clinicians about their experiences of care in younger onset dementia. This will help define our assessment toolkit for testing and implementation in a wider group of people with younger onset dementia. An important part of this study will be to improve the recording of quality of life (QoL) in people with younger dementia, and helping better understand what factors influence QoL in this particular group of patients and their carers.

CT scan no PID CMYKHere at the Wessex CLAHRC we are also trying to better understand the way in which dementia doctors make decisions about brain scans in people where dementia is suspected. A number of doctors have already been surveyed, and this project aims to identify ways of improving the confidence of doctors in ordering brain scans and interpreting the results.

As well as that, we are also trying to improve the number of people diagnosed with dementia within care homes to give better access for this group to post dementia diagnosis support. A toolkit to assist diagnosis has been developed following extensive consultation with GPs and carers, and is about to be trialled in clinical practice. If it is successful, it will be implemented in additional care homes.

A recent study performed within the CLAHRC modelling hub in association with Public Health England, and using data from the Hampshire Health Record, has shown that people with dementia are more than twice as likely to attend accident and emergency, or be admitted to hospital, if they have 5 or more other medical conditions including high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and depression. It is important that health and social care structures take these coexisting medical problems into account when planning care for people with dementia.

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