Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group
Making Primary Care dementia friendly
12 January 2018

Highcliffe Medical Centre in Christchurch has seen rates of dementia diagnosis within the practice rise dramatically having worked closely with its patient participation group (PPG) to implement iSPACE - an initiative which aims to make primary care more dementia friendly – and achieve Dementia Friendly status.

Over the last twelve months the diagnosis of dementia has gone up by over a third (36%) with the number of care plans being put in place for patients who have been diagnosed with dementia nearly doubling (from 129 to 236).

Of the new dementia diagnoses in 2017 the majority of patients were aged between 80 and 89 whilst 35% were aged over 90.

iSPACE is a programme initiated by Wessex Academic Health Science Network which identifies ways to improve services for those affected by dementia and their carers. Recommendations include appointing a dementia champion within the practice, promoting partnership working, training staff to identify the signs of dementia and allowing them to have more time to care for people who are diagnosed.

Practice staff worked closely with members of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) to organise events which gave those registered at the practice an opportunity to learn more about local services. These included a Patient Open Day in May which was attended by Alzheimer’s Society and the local Highcliffe Dementia Support Group; and a Dementia Friends session in November which will run monthly.

A PPG gives local people the opportunity to get involved in shaping and improving the services their GP practice offers and supporting patients within their own communities. To get involved speak to your practice or if they don’t yet have a PPG register your interest for the future.  

Rebecca Loveys from Highcliffe Medical Centre said “With the most elderly patient demographic of a GP surgery in the country, we are really enthusiastic about achieving Dementia Friendly status and see it as a milestone in our continued efforts to provide excellent care and support for those affected by dementia.”