Memory assessment practitioners will work in care homes across Norfolk and Waveney, following a successful pilot run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), in partnership with NHS Norfolk and Waveney.
The DiADeM Care Homes pilot, which has received national recognition for improving dementia care and diagnosis rates, was initially delivered over nine months in west and south Norfolk.
It will now be rolled out more widely, with additional funding from the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB).
The pilot was a such great success that it also attracted interest from NHS England who are going to pilot it across other NHS trusts.
Kumar Ponnusamy, NSFT Dementia Nurse Consultant, who is leading the project, said: “The pilot has received national recognition as best practice and the Norfolk and Waveney system are committed to continuing this good work.”
Amy Noble, NSFT Memory Assessment Nurse, who was involved in the project, said: ‘’I was delighted to be part of this pioneering project and support patients, relatives and care home staff through the process of dementia assessment, diagnosis and providing relevant education and support.”
NSFT’s Memory Assessment and Treatment Services (MATS) in Norfolk and Waveney are now working with the ICB to further support the improved diagnosis rate, improve pathways and quality of care, and bring dementia diagnosis into the community.
The project aims to improve care plans and advance planning for people with dementia, and those with cognitive impairments; better target pharmacological and therapeutic treatments; improve understanding across the system of how to support people living with dementia, and improve quality of life, disease management and end of life care.
It builds on the pilot, which saw NSFT-led memory assessment service practitioners screen and support the diagnosis of dementia in care home residents with advanced symptoms, and residents without diagnosis, but with cognitive decline.
Practitioners used the DiADeM (Diagnosing Advanced Dementia Mandate) tool, which includes cognitive assessment and history taking, and review of assessment findings with GPs with a view to primary care diagnosis.
Tricia D’Orsi, Director of Nursing at NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, said: “Integrated care is about removing traditional divisions between services, so people and communities get the support and care that they need. This service will enable care homes to tailor their support to better meet their residents’ needs, making a huge difference to their quality of life.”
NSFT is the primary provider of MATS across Norfolk and Waveney, offering assessment, diagnosis, treatment and post-diagnosis follow-up to people with a dementia. It is estimated that 70% of people living in residential care homes are likely to have some form of dementia.