Supporting the carers of people with dementia through GP surgeries

ContactDr Nicola Decker, Clinical Lead for Dementia, North Hampshire CCG
Telephone01256 770212
AddressCentral 40, Lime Tree way, Chineham Business Park, Basingstoke, RG24 8GU

This project will provide support to carers of people with dementia in 21 General Practices across North Hampshire.

Services at the General Practice level are proved to be important to carers as early identification, intervention and support is available. It is important to put a preventative and early intervention service in a familiar place where people can be easily engaged face to face without feeling a sense of stigma.

The model to be adopted is one which is currently run by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers for carers in general. Up to 5 carers can be seen in privacy for a 50 minute session in each half day clinic. Positive feedback from carers has included that they can focus on their needs, get emotional support, feel supported in their role and it is easy to access. Practical help with form filling is also welcomed. Volunteers help at these sessions by providing a welcome, refreshments and relevant literature.


  • carers will access face to face advice and support in their GP surgery.
  • carers  will get advice and information about what is important to them.
  • carers will be helped to access other services which will support them, including short breaks.
  • carers will be able to make plans about what to do in an emergency.
  • carers will be able to maintain or develop support networks.
  • carers will be able to reduce the impact of caring on their physical and mental health.
  • carers will be supported in caring for their loved one with dementia.
  • the general practice teams will become more knowledgeable about carers issues and be able to better support people with dementia and their carers.


The Action Guide for GPs and their teams ‘Supporting Carers’ ( Royal College of General Practitioners and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers 2011) says  that health and social care services depend on the contribution of unpaid carers.  There are between 113,800 and 126,000 carers in Hampshire and many of these will be older carers caring for older people. (Hampshire Carers Strategy refresh 2011).

 All carers will be known to a GP as patients on their lists but not always known to be ‘carers’. Caring has a physical and emotional impact on the lives of carers and GPs are the link between primary, secondary and tertiary care.

 Carers of people with dementia are often themselves elderly, (though not exclusively) and the complexities of caring for a person with dementia as the condition progresses means they ‘experience greater strain and distress than carers of other older people’ (Prime Minister’s Challenge). Caring can go on for many years. Younger carers of people with early onset dementia also need support.

Many people do not see themselves as ‘carers’ and do not go out to seek help for themselves. Many carers come in and out of caring each year. There needs to be a sustainable and proactive approach to engaging and supporting them.


  • November 2012 – January 2013 Set up project group with all partner organisations. Start to plan the project with all partners, to include awareness raising with carers, surgeries and dementia lead GPs.
  • January 2013 onwards Agree and implement the service  across the 21 surgeries in the North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group area in a planned way

Anticipated outcomes

  • An increase in people with dementia  able to live longer in their own homes.
  • An increase in carers being able to continue their caring role.
  • A reduction in need for emergency admissions for carer or cared for.
    • 17% permanent residential care admissions are the result of carer breakdown
    • in 62% of hospital readmissions, problems associated with the carer contributed to readmission (Hertfordshire County Council figures 2012)
  • A reduction in carer breakdown (no longer being able to care).
  • An  increase in numbers of carers with an emergency plan.
  • An increase in the number of carers receiving a Carers Assessment from Adult Services