University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is joint top of a national ‘leader-board’ for screening for undiagnosed dementia in people admitted to hospital through the Emergency Department.
For the last few years, all NHS Trusts in England have been required to achieve a national financially-led CQUIN (Commission for Quality and Improvement) target for the screening of possible dementia in patients.
The CQUIN target requires 90 per cent compliance and UHMBT has achieved this target for the last six years.
UHMBT is joint top out of 87 health organisations that have been required to meet the target. This means patients and families affected by dementia are able to get support and advice sooner thanks to the earlier detection.
Dianne Smith, Dementia Matron for UHMBT, said: “Our Care of the Elderly team has worked extremely hard to achieve and maintain the target. They are very dedicated to their role and to their patients.
“I’m very pleased that we are at the top; it has been achieved through a team approach.
“When people over the age of 75 years come through our Emergency Department and are subsequently admitted to hospital, they are automatically screened for undiagnosed dementia.
“Every day the team gets a list of patients who have arrived the day before at the Emergency Departments in Lancaster or Barrow and have then been admitted to hospital.
“The initial screening has to be done within 72 hours. The screening looks at three aspects: whether the person already has a dementia diagnosis, whether they have delirium but not a dementia diagnosis and whether they have had any problems with their memory in the last six to 12 months.
“If the answer is ‘yes’ to questions two and three, the team will seek a history of the patient from the family as well. We would also do cognitive tests.”
The team also checks to see if delirium is present and does an onward referral to the patient’s GP or memory assessment services when they are ready to leave hospital.
Dianne said: “People over the age of 75 are coming in to A&E because they are injured or unwell so the screening is an additional service for them.
“We also do an assessment of the holistic needs of the person and put recommendations in place. The patient might also need intervention from community and social services.”
Dianne added: “Historically, many people were living their lives with undiagnosed dementia.
“It is important that people are screened for undiagnosed dementia. One of the benefits is that if dementia is picked up, we can set the wheels in motion for people to receive the appropriate care and support.
“When someone is diagnosed with dementia, they are entitled to certain financial benefits and support. We can let them know where to receive that support.
“A diagnosis clarifies the need for support. People with dementia can then receive advice and understanding of what the disease is. It’s a disease of the brain and it’s good to know what you’re dealing with.”
There are ‘Dementia Hubs’ in Lancaster, Barrow and Kendal which anyone can attend. For details of the dementia hubs please ask your GP or go to: www.thebaydementiahub.org for Lancaster/Kendal/Barrow area, https://www.facebook.com/southlakesdementiahub/ for Kendal area and https://d.facebook.com/Barrow-Dementia for Barrow area.