Health and care organisations across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) are getting together to raise awareness of dementia to enable the best possible outcomes for patient experience during referral, diagnosis and treatment of the illness.
Dementia Awareness Week (15 – 21 May), run by the Alzheimer’s Society, this year is focusing on early diagnosis.
Dr. Wafaa Nawaz, Mental Health and Learning Disability Lead at the LLR Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: “Supporting and helping people living with dementia and their carers remains a priority for local health and social care organisations. That is why we are working with all partners to produce the new Living Well with Dementia strategy which will be published in early 2024. For Dementia Awareness Week our message is to get help as soon as you can, as we know that early diagnosis is key in the treatment of dementia.
“We know that there is much to do and we welcome the report last week from Health Watch, Living with Dementia in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, which represents the voices of people’s experiences of dementia services and makes clear recommendations regarding how improvements can be made.”
This Dementia Action Week partners in LLR hope to increase awareness of what help is available, and they are encouraging anyone concerned that they, or someone close to them, might be experiencing signs of dementia, to ‘Act On Dementia’ and seek out support and a diagnosis.
One key partner is Leicestershire County Council. Councillor Christine Radford, cabinet member for adults and communities, said: “We are pleased that current Living Well with Dementia Strategy has made significant achievements in improving the quality of life for people living with dementia and family and friends who support them.
“Help is available, including one-to-one Dementia Support, information sessions following diagnosis, benefits advice, memory cafes and social groups, informal carer learning, digital support and information packs, and we recognise how important this support is for anyone affected by a dementia diagnosis.”
This week, NHS England has also placed particular emphasis on people from ethnic minorities who often get even lower rates of diagnosis.
Vipul Patel, Deputy Lead for the memory service at Leicestershire Partnership Trust said: “In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, the rates of diagnosis are lower than expected, which suggests there are patients we’re not aware of, with symptoms of dementia. This could partly be due to the fact that people from ethnic minorities often have a delayed diagnosis due to cultural barriers, and this has been highlighted in a new NHS guide. I would encourage people with concerns to use Alzheimer’s UK symptoms checklist, and if they have concerns, then to contact their GP.”