An online tool to help people with dementia access care in their local area has been launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
Aimed at doctors and community care providers, the 'Dementia Roadmap' has been designed to reflect a patient’s needs as they progress through the condition and signpost them to relevant local resources at the right time, from diagnosis onwards.
Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt described the Dementia Map as "an important tool that will help doctors and other healthcare professionals make sure people get specialist help and support in their area.
“Dementia can be a devastating condition but timely diagnosis and effective support can make a huge difference as we help to empower those with the condition to live as well as possible.”
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Produced in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society and funded by the Department of Health, the Dementia Roadmap will provide a platform to help clinical commissioning groups and other local organisations to bring information for patients in their area together for the first time, so that GPs can refer them to the best care to meet their needs as quickly as possible.
Different experiences of the disease
Chair of the RCGP, Dr Maureen Baker, said: “Nearly every day in our surgeries, GPs are witnessing the devastating impact of dementia on patients and their families.
“Every person diagnosed with dementia will have a different experience of the disease. This is why it is vital for doctors to have access to the most comprehensive information about the services and resources locally available.
“Dementia is a clinical priority for the College and this Roadmap will be a huge step forward in helping GPs and healthcare professionals do their best for patients at different points of their experience.”
The tool also provides information about understanding dementia, memory worries, the diagnostic process, post-diagnosis support, living well with dementia, carer health and planning for the future. This is supplemented by details of local information and services for patients, such as memory clinics, hospitals, care homes and specialist residential housing.
No one has to face dementia alone
Designed by GPs and other primary care staff, the Dementia Roadmap has been piloted in Devon, North Somerset and South Gloucester, with more planned across England.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, concluded: "Receiving a diagnosis of dementia can trigger a range of emotions not only for the person living with the condition but also their family and friends. Knowing where to turn for information and support from the outset is hugely important.
"This Roadmap will help GPs support their patients as they navigate their dementia journey. By signposting to support in the local community, it will help to ensure no one has to face dementia alone."