7. Recognise

Recognise; assess; refer

Questions to consider

  • how can we improve recognition of memory problems?
  • how can we improve diagnosis of dementia?
  • how can we improve the management of our patients’ care?

DRIVER: Proactive, responsive primary care services

Actions Resources Examples
Introduce targeted screening for key groups, e.g.

  • frail elderly people, including older carers
  • people with long term conditions
  • patients in care homes
  • patients with cardiovascular disease
  • patients with Huntingdon’s Disease or Parkinson’s disease
  • older adults with depression
  • adults with learning disabilities
  • patients presenting with memory problems, or mild cognitive impairment

Initiate targeted screening via,

  • annual checks for over-65s
  • over-75 health checks
  • ‘flu clinics
  • reviews of clinic registers
Review annually patients who have presented with Mild Cognitive Impairment (Eu057).

Maintain a register of people with suspected dementia or mild cognitive impairment. Review regularly within primary care, or via referral for a specialist memory assessment.

  • Bristol dementia practice incentive scheme

    An NHS Bristol incentive scheme which has achieve over 50% sign up and from those practices, nearly 250 people were identified as having dementia and added to the registers. The biggest improvement was 37 people in one practice (2012-13). Read more »

  • Dementia link nurses in West Kent

    This project will support dementia Link nurses in West Kent to work in primary care and proactively identify, diagnose, triage and assess people with dementia and provide appropriate prescribing and post diagnostic support. Read more »

  • Specialist Link Nurses in Surrey Downs

    This project aims to increase diagnosis rates in the Surrey Downs community by adopting an innovative approach of using Specialist Link Nurses. Read more »

Run a real time audit with Primary Health Care Team to check, and follow up on cases involving or patients presenting with

  • falls
  • possible carer strain
  • older patients failing to attend appointments
  • older patients failing to collect, or take dispensed medications
  • patients in community hospitals
  • patients in care homes presenting with confusion, depression, problems thinking, reasoning, struggling to follow up conversations, forgetfulness, other changes in mood and cognition
  • problems with self care
Consider the needs of patients from Black and minority ethnic groups, where cultural differences may affect the timeliness of presentation.