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Successes of the Dementia HIT in 2016-17

8 May 2017

Sue Wensley, Elizabeth Coulthard and Emma Moody, Directors of the Dementia Health Integration Team (HIT), reflect on the team's work and successes in 2016-17.

Dementia care is a local and national priority. The Dementia HIT aims to achieve the best quality of life for people and families living with dementia.

When we formed in October 2012 the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia had been launched in the March. The updated Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020 set out more than 50 commitments to make England the world-leader in dementia care, research and awareness by 2020. We have used both of these to guide our work and objectives.

The Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service (BDWS), and the South Gloucestershire Dementia Advisors continue to play an important role in supporting people affected by dementia. The systems embedded in primary and secondary care continue to receive largely positive feedback, and a formal evaluation of the first year of the BDWS is now completed (PDF).

The dementia services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire have worked hard to ensure people receive a formal diagnosis of dementia, with Bristol achieving 73.2 per cent and South Gloucestershire 60.7 per cent at the end of March 2017. The national diagnosis rate target is 67 per cent, and in 2012-2013 when the HIT formed the rates in Bristol and South Gloucestershire were 49.8 per cent and 47.8 per cent respectively. This increased diagnosis rate is a significant achievement for the team.

In 2017 3,015 people in Bristol had been diagnosed with dementia, against an estimated prevalence of 4,121. For South Gloucestershire, there were 1,965 people with a diagnosis, against an estimated prevalence of 3,242. South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been instrumental in getting NHS England to review estimates of the number of people living with dementia in the local population.

Research continues to be a major focus and this year has seen several achievements. In October 2016, Dr Elizabeth Coulthard and Professor Yoav Ben-Shlomo of the University of Bristol submitted a successful bid for an MRC Momentum award worth £900,000.

Bristol City Council funded UWE to explore the experiences of people affected by dementia in Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities (PDF). The findings from the report were launched at an event at City Hall on 20 February, alongside a film featuring members of the BAME community talking about their experiences of dementia. This event was attended by Lord Philip Hunt.


We have also secured funding for a film about patient experiences of research, which will be available to local post-diagnostic groups to showcase research opportunities.

Sharon Parsons has been working hard as education co-lead to bring together people with an interest in dementia education to streamline training and training opportunities across the HIT. On 1 December 2016, Sharon and Dawn Corse attended the University of Bristol’s ‘engagement with schools’ event, to showcase the resources available to help schools speak to young people about dementia, developed by Alzheimer’s Society. We have developed a series of educational events for 2017, based on feedback from previous events.

We continue to weave patient and public involvement (PPI) through all our work, and Derek Dominey is lay chair of our quarterly meetings. We have actively tried to become more involved in groups and organisations. We’ve engaged the Care Home Manager Forum to talk about PPI as well as holding a series of visits to memory cafes to recruit our volunteer panel. Our volunteer panel leaflets were given to delegates at the South Gloucestershire Annual Voluntary and Community and Social Enterprise Sector Conference 2017 on 10 February. Dawn spoke at the Bristol Physical Access Chain (BPAC) meeting on 14 February. She is now helping to link this with the HIT’s dementia friendly communities work stream. Alzheimer’s Society have worked with Bristol and South Gloucestershire CCGs to establish PPI reference groups to feed into their work.

Dementia friendly communities work has continued to progress. South Gloucestershire now has the most Dementia Friends in the South West. South Gloucestershire CCG is exploring using GP premises to hold Dementia Friends sessions, as well as focusing on BAME communities through church groups. Bristol’s dementia friendly swimming project is being rolled out across the city, with evaluation supported by our PPI workstream. There’s also a film showing the positive impact of swimming for people living with dementia.


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