Ambitions have been outlined to transform the experiences of the million people in Britain who will be living with dementia by 2021, in a new report published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Alzheimer’s Society gathered expert insight from researchers, people with dementia and the professionals who support them to produce a ‘roadmap’ with recommendations to close the gap between research and policy in order to provide the best possible dementia care.
With input from Public Health England, Department of Health, National Institute for Health Research, Economic and Social Research Council and academics from 11 universities, the report outlines an action plan to meet five goals:
- Prevent future cases of dementia, through increasing knowledge of risk and protective factors
- Maximise the benefits to people living with dementia, and their families, of seeking and receiving a diagnosis of dementia
- Improve quality of life for people affected by dementia, by promoting functional capabilities and independence while preventing and treating negative consequences
- Enable the dementia workforce to deliver improved practice, by increasing knowledge and informing changes in practice and culture
- Optimise quality and inclusivity of health and social care systems that support people affected by dementia.
These goals sit alongside the existing global ambition of identifying a cure or ‘disease-modifying treatment’ for dementia by 2025, which was agreed by the G7 nations at a summit in 2013.
Points on the action plan include creating professional networks to involve the care workforce in dementia research and gather their ideas for new projects, and recognising research involvement in Care Quality Commission and Healthwatch reports.
Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society James Pickett, who led the report, said: “Research has a vital role to play in care and cure alike – and with a million people in the UK expected to be living with dementia by 2021, we have to provide the best possible care for all those affected.
“With budgets cut to the bone and demand always increasing, care providers need to be as efficient and effective as possible. Focused research will help health and social care professionals to improve knowledge and practice, as well as the quality of the wider system.”
The report launches alongside three complementary research calls that together will support over £50 million of new research to improve dementia health and social care. These include:
- A Care & Technology programme in the UK Dementia Research Institute worth £20 million
- A European-wide research call from the Joint Programming in Neurodegenerative Diseases worth €21 million
- A joint call for research proposals from the Economic and Social Research Council and National Institute for Health Research worth £16.5 million
To find out more and download the report, go to alzheimers.org.uk/researchroadmap