iSPACE – supporting dementia friendly GP surgeries in Wessex

ContactKatherine Barbour, Senior Project Manager, Dementia Quality Improvement Programme, Wessex AHSN
AddressInnovation Centre, Southampton Science Park, 2 Venture Road, Chilworth, Southampton, SO16 7NP

The iSPACE project led by Dr Nicola Decker, a GP at Oakley and Overton Surgery and dementia lead for the North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, has developed a suite of resources to help make a GP surgery dementia friendly.

The resources (available at the bottom of this page) include:

  • A film of Dr Decker describing this project, the benefits and challenges around making a surgery dementia friendly.
  • The workbook with inserts of templates and documents that are needed to undertake this quality improvement
  • A flyer to hand out to surgeries who are considering becoming dementia friendly.
  • A link to the evaluation report undertaken by the Centre for Implementation Science, University of Southampton


The Dementia Friendly primary care project, iSPACE, was put into practice as a pilot initiative in April 2014 by Dr Decker at Oakley & Overton Practice, with funds awarded by the Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN). The evidence underpinning this initiative was the RCN Dementia survey of 2,184 professionals, patients and carers in 2011, from which the SPACE principle was developed for use in hospital care. Dr Decker adapted this for primary care and named it iSPACE, with the purpose of improving patient and carer experience, teamwork and clinical consultations.

iSPACE explained

iSPACE consists of 6 key steps to becoming a Dementia Friendly Practice:

  1. Identify one or two Dementia Champions in the practice
  2. Staff who are skilled and have time to care
  3. Partnership working with carers, family and friends
  4. Assessment and early identification of dementia
  5. Care plans which are person centred
  6. Environments that are dementia friendly



An evaluation conducted by the Centre for Implementation Science, University of Southampton, found improvements to patient and carer experience, staff delivery of iSPACE and clinical consultations, with the caveat that this study was not able to control for the effects of other national schemes occurring simultaneously.

Key benefits identified:

  • Patient and carer experience improved
  • Diagnosis rates increased from 52% to 63% at Oakley and Overton practice
  • Staff attitudes to dementia are more positive
  • Clinical consultations improved

In addition, the evaluation has identified encouraging signals in the following:

  • good fit with current best practice
  • low resource costs to implement
  • positive potential for spread of practice across Wessex


Dr Michele Legg of Tower House Surgery IOW recommends iSPACE.
“This is a relatively inexpensive bundle of actions that makes a big difference to patients and their carers in managing what can be one of the most soul destroying illnesses we encounter.”