Diagnosis pilot schemes

Fourteen pilot schemes across England are attempting to increase diagnosis rates by checking care home residents to see whether they have dementia.

Under the NHS’s £900,000 drive to revive the flagging dementia diagnosis rate, GPs will share lists of care home residents with specialist teams who will go into care homes. Nurses and other clinicians will offer each person a face-to-face assessment, review their use of medication, and speak to their family and friends to determine whether they have dementia.

During the pandemic diagnosis rates fell from 67% to 63% and left 30,000 people without the diagnosis they would normally have had, according to Alzheimer’s Society. The NHS scheme has already been trialled in Norfolk, where 100 care home residents were given a face-to-face assessment resulting in 95 dementia diagnoses.

“The NHS is determined to ensure those who developed dementia during the pandemic are given a diagnosis as it will open up doors to further support for people and their families,” said Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s clinical director for dementia.

Official figures indicate that referrals to memory services have returned to pre-pandemic levels with 301,218 referrals in 2021/22. In England, 451,992 people have a dementia diagnosis, 2.8% up on last year.