More about the Dementia HIT

Background

The Dementia Health Integration Team (HIT) is a team of professionals who are all working together to transform care for people affected by dementia through comprehensive research, integrating and improving care services and support, and by creating dementia-friendly communities.

Dementia care is a national and local priority. The number of people with dementia is growing due to an ageing population: 2,160 people in Bristol have been diagnosed with the condition, but historically low diagnosis rates mean the real number is estimated at 4,500. The number of dementia patients in Bristol is expected to increase by 23 per cent over the next two decades.

In South Gloucestershire the number of people with dementia aged over 65 is expected to increase dramatically from the current estimate of 3,156 people, to 4,053 in 2020. By 2030 the number of people with dementia will rise to 5,583, nearly double the current population.

The HIT uses a multi-agency approach with experts drawn from local universities, councils, NHS trusts, volunteer organisations and charities.

The HIT wants to create a climate in which health care staff feel confident about identifying and managing dementia, social care staff and carers feel confident about caring for people with the condition and the general public has a greater understanding of the disease.

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of the Dementia HIT is to achieve the best quality of life for people and families affected by dementia, by delivering:

  • Dementia friendly communities
  • Excellent services based on the highest quality evidence
  • World-class research to achieve the best quality of life for people and families living with dementia

The HIT aims to do this through five workstreams:

Who's involved

The leading dementia experts in Bristol are involved. The HIT directors are Hilary Archer, Consultant Neurologist North Bristol NHS Trust, Dr Maria-Paloma Sequeiros Camarinha, Psychiatrist, South Gloucestershire Later Life. Julie Clayton is the HIT co-ordinator. The executive group is made up of experts from across the Bristol Health Partners organisations.

Find out more about who's involved in the Dementia HIT.

How the public is involved

Lorna Robertson who works for the Alzheimer's Society leads on PPI for the Dementia HIT, with the aim of ensuring that people affected by dementia are involved across the various HIT projects. The PPI workstream aims to set up reference groups involving patients and carers in clinical service development and research.

In addition, between September 2013 and March 2014 the HIT gathered over 1,800 opinions about dementia using an online version of the 'Approaches to Dementia' questionnaire. The wording of some questions has been adapted to be applicable to a broad range of people with permission from the authors of the questionnaire. Although the survey is now closed you can still view a copy of the questionnaire. The HIT will carry out this survey again in the future to see if the activities of the HIT have increased awareness of dementia and improved people's attitudes towards the condition.

Projects and activities

Funding will allow the Dementia HIT to carry out rigorous research and evaluate changes to services. For example, one current project is tackling low dementia diagnosis rates by developing early diagnosis at GP surgeries rather than at specialist clinics. The team is bidding for funding to evaluate the impact of early diagnosis and whether this benefits patients, carers and healthcare professionals.

As part of its work to create dementia-friendly communities that understand dementia and help people live with the condition, the HIT is carrying out studies with people affected by dementia in Bristol and South Gloucestershire to identify tangible quality of life improvements.

The HIT wants to create a climate in which healthcare staff feel confident about identifying and managing dementia, social care staff and carers feel confident about caring for people with the condition and the general public has a greater understanding of the disease. Additional funding would allow the HIT to expand its wide range of research, education, training and public engagement work to improve quality of life for all those affected by dementia.

Key projects for the team include:

  • Tackling low dementia diagnosis rates by developing early diagnosis at primary care GP surgeries rather than at specialist clinics.
  • Carrying out studies with dementia patients and their carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire to identify tangible quality of life improvements.
  • Gathering baseline data to understand attitudes toward dementia in Bristol and South Gloucestershire which will be reassessed at timely intervals.
  • Creating a register of individuals who may be interested in taking part in research.

Other collaborations and networking

A number of organisations are involved with helping to deliver the work of the HIT. Three of these are specialist dementia research centres:

Other local and national organisations collaborate on HIT projects such as:

Contact

To find out more, please contact dementia@bristolhealthpartners.org.uk.

Dementia HIT at the HIT conference

The Dementia HIT presented this poster (PDF) at the 2018 Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Team conference.


View the 2015 video here
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