Memory services provide assessment and diagnosis of dementia, as well as ongoing support and information to people with memory problems and their carers. The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Memory Services National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP) works with these services across the UK to assure and improve quality, engaging staff in a comprehensive process of review. Good practice and high quality care are recognised, and areas for improvement are identified and addressed.

‘Join dementia research’ is helping memory services participating in MSNAP to achieve two research standards, by offering patients an easy way to register their interest in participating in research.


 

MSNAP guide‘Join dementia research’ programme staff recently attended the 5th National Memory Services Forum, hosted by the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP) at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London.

The Forum was an enjoyable and informative day covering various aspects of memory services, with a morning filled with presentations by key professionals working in the field and an afternoon dedicated to workshops.

A summary of the morning talks

After a welcome address from the MSNAP Accreditation Committee Chair, Professor Martin Orrell, Sophie Hodge and Emma Hailey provided an update on the work that is being done under the auspice of MSNAP, including the publication this year of the 4th Edition of the MSNAP standards and the results of the Memory Clinical Audit – England 2013. The audit revealed the encouraging statistic that three-quarters of memory clinics discuss research.

The next to speak was Professor Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director of Dementia in England, who began by pledging his clinic as the 100th service to join MSNAP. Alistair then gave an update regarding dementia services from a national perspective.

Alistair introduced the key point that although there has been an incremental rise in the diagnosis rate for dementia, 53% of people with dementia still either haven’t been diagnosed or have not had their diagnosis recorded in their GP clinical records; it is therefore now NHS England’s ambition to raise the average diagnosis rate to two-thirds (66%) nationally, by the end of the year.

Alistair also spoke about the importance of providing effective support for both patients and carers, and the resources that are available to facilitate this, such as the RCGP Roadmap, the Dementia Prevalence Calculator, the GP primer ‘Dementia Revealed’, and the Dementia Guide booklet.

Keith Oliver at MSNAPAlistair’s presentation was followed by a talk from Keith Oliver, a former head teacher, about his experience of being diagnosed with dementia and being a founder member of the ‘Forget Me Nots’ support group in Kent. Keith read an extract from the forthcoming book ‘Welcome to my world’, written by himself and seven other people living with dementia – this book is the first publication of ‘life writing’ on the subject of dementia and features an introduction by comedian Jo Brand.

Keith recounted his impressions of the day he received his MRI scan results and suspected diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and described how he came to terms with his diagnosis and the impact that it had on his life – his moving account adding a more personal element to the day.

Among the others to speak was Prof. Gill Livingston from University College London, who presented the findings of the START Carers Project. The study has shown that family carers of people with dementia, who were helped by a specialist service to develop coping strategies, experienced decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as better quality of life.


So what can memory services do to help achieve their research standards?

Over the next two months, as the Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs) roll-out the ‘Join dementia research’ service accross the country, we would encourage accredited memory services to visit the website, and sign-post interested patients to either register online (www.joindementiarsearch.nihr.ac.uk) or via the two charity helpline numbers: Alzheimer’s Research UK (0300 111 5 111Alzheimer’s Society (0300 222 1122).

A range of promotional materials (e.g. leaflets, application forms, posters and pop-up banners) can also be ordered online without a charge: http://weborder.formara.co.uk/jdr.

Please contact comms.jdr@nihr.ac.uk if you would like advice on how you can help to support the service in your clinic.