That there is a prodromal phase for Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps called mild cognitive impairment, at which point you could ‘stop dementia’ in its tracks. And anyway you would have identified individuals a long time ahead of that, with personal genomics for example.
“Dementia friendly communities” lend themselves easily to ‘diversity marketing’, however. Diversity marketing is a marketing paradigm which sees marketing (and especially marketing communications) as essentially an effort in communication with diverse publics. As an acknowledgement of the importance of diversity marketing is that AT&T Inc. has a post for this discipline at vice president level. It is , starting in the 1980s, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, universities and non-profits organisations began to increase marketing efforts around diversity, according to Penn State University.
Simmons also described the correct view, in my view, that persons with dementia need to be engaged with the system far before a “crisis” occurs. The evidence appears to suggest that it might be possible to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions of people living with dementia. This is definitely a phenomenon which we have been experiencing too in acute medicine in England (with a large proportion of the acute medical take having a comorbidity of dementia). But Simmons also warned, correctly, that, as the persons’ needs for living well with dementia changes, we need to make sure that their solutions for living well adapt.
There were many aspects of Simmons’ speech which reflected my overwhelming philosophy of ‘Living well with dementia’, , evaluating critically the underlying evidence base for this jurisdiction – but in a suitable manner for an interested and informed member of the general public. Simmons at that point raised a point that no-one can fundamentally can disagree with the fact people with dementia need information to be able to exert choice and control, or to live in supportive communities. I agree with Simmons, as indeed I have devoted two whole chapters to these policy planks in my book.
Simmons made quite a big thrust of his thesis that we need highly quality research to inform on integrated care (between health and social care systems), and implied that the current systems were a long way from that. It is likely an incoming government both in England and in Scotland will be publicly opposed to social cuts, whilst carrying them out in some form, while promoting personalised care (and possibly personal budgets). But Simmons view that there needs to be good quality researching care is borne out by other stakeholders too, and, despite the stated aims of the G8 dementia Summit, a collective opinion may be slowly crystallising.
There is a . , there is a guarantee of a minimum of one year’s post diagnostic support, from a named link worker, for every person diagnosed with dementia. The guarantee is based on the five-pillar model developed by Alzheimer Scotland. This clearly has implications for the organisation of the integration of health and social care for England, with formulations of ‘whole person care’ edging towards a similar system with these key coordinators. For example, .
Simmons though put it slightly more strongly, emphasising that it would be inappropriate to focus on research on cure without giving due regard to people living with, and caring for people living with, dementia. And this was a theme which Dr Peter Connolly reverted to in his summary of the whole day – that it would be now impossible to separate out the importance of any one view: cure, care, cause and prevention. The way that Connolly proposed the issue in his summary, I thought, was an effective one: that one could never dream to imagine research strategies in cancer having disproportionate areas of focus in care, cure, prevention and cause.
Amongst the five key challenges for Scotland, fear of dementia is mentioned as a reason for people not seeking diagnosis. Stigma is mentioned and the reluctance of some general practitioners to diagnose. Solutions are described in the form of informing people of the benefits of diagnosis and improving the quality and availability of post-diagnostic support.
but I met a guy called Hugh whose late wife had been living with dementia for eight years. He was passionate about being a ‘Dementia Friend’, and was indeed extremely proud of the work being done in his community.
Denegri, interestingly, welcomed the appoint of Prof Martin Rossor () as the Dementia Tsar for research (). I thought the substance and tone of this talk was spot on, though perhaps I would prefer to think of individuals as persons who happen to be living with a diagnosis of dementia who can become ‘patients’ within the jurisdiction of the medical profession at any time.
You see, under this system and “whole person care” which will be left for a future UK Labour government to introduce, I view the person with dementia always to have the philosophy of ‘living well’ right behind them – and they truly become a patient when they fall ill, and then become under the jurisdiction of the medical profession which I think still has much to learn about the dementias.
Indeed, today’s , the fourth annual of its kind, for the SCDRN, gave Henry Simmons, CEO of Alzheimer Scotland (), a chance to recapitulate on the importance of the G8 Dementia Summit, held last year in London in 2013.
I will be promoting heavily the cause of living well with dementia, to swing the pendulum away from pumping all the money into clinical trials into drug trials for medications which thus far have had nasty side effects.