Improving the diagnosis of dementia in care homes with DeAR-GP
20 December 2022
Health Innovation Network UCL Partners
Communications and consultation Diagnosis
An estimated 80% of people in care homes may have dementia, but many remain undiagnosed and unable to access proper medical support.
The Dementia Assessment Referral to GP tool (DeAR-GP), was co-designed by the Health Innovation Network to assist care workers in identifying signs of dementia and making referrals to primary care.
A diagnosis provides a gateway to ensure that people with dementia in care homes receive person-Fcentred care. DeAR-GP provides a valuable resource to enable better integration between health and social care support; assisting care home staff, GPs and importantly those living with dementia and their family to access information, advice and support.
George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Alzheimer’s Society
What the project involved
Obtaining a dementia diagnosis for care home residents can help with accessing condition-specific treatment, and allows care workers, friends, and family to better understand the needs of the patient. Additionally, early diagnosis can save up to £6,254 per person.
The HIN developed and trialled the DeAR-GP tool for care workers to improve their ability to spot the signs of dementia and make appropriate referrals. The kit includes observational charts and tests and referral letters.
Adoption and spread or improvement methodology
The results of a feasibility study conducted by HIN showed that care workers were confident in using DeAR-GP and found it easy to use.
The user guide was able to clarify how to implement the tool and mitigate potential risks through getting key stakeholders to engage.
The Health Innovation Network has worked with Bromley and Lewisham Mind to deliver DeAR-GP training to upwards of 40 care homes, covering 12 CCGs and local authorities. Additionally, 24 care homes benefited from the innovation through a joint project between the Health Innovation Network and UCLPartners.
During a feasibility study in a small number of care homes, care workers completed 23 assessments using the DeAR-GP Tool to investigate suspected cases of dementia. On review, 87% of the care home residents assessed were either diagnosed with dementia or referred for further assessment.