Dr Elizabeth Coulthard, Director of the Dementia Health Integration Team (HIT), gives an update on the HIT's activities in 2014-15.
The Dementia HIT aims to achieve the best quality of life for people and families living with dementia. During our first two years we have made significant strides towards this goal. We are now set to contribute more to the enhancement of dementia care, through becoming the strategic driver across Bristol and South Gloucestershire, directly accountable through commissioners to Health and Wellbeing Boards. The number of people being diagnosed with dementia continues to rise, with more diagnoses in primary care.
The Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service launched in October, provided by the Bristol Dementia Partnership which brings together the Alzheimer’s Society and Devon Partnership NHS Trust. The South Gloucestershire Dementia Action Alliance launched in January, following on from the success of the Patchway pilot. The Alliance works with communities, schools and individuals to create dementia-friendly communities by raising awareness.
Our well-received conference in October showcased the range of dementia-related work in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The event was attended by over 200 people, including people affected by dementia, members of the public and health and social care professionals. Other events organised by the Dementia HIT’s partners and collaborators include BRACE’s ‘Dementia: Hope for the future’, and ‘FORGETWest’, organised by researchers at the Universities of the West of England and Bristol.
Research is a major focus, encompassing clinical drug trials, psychosocial approaches to dementia, service evaluation, and imaging to improve diagnosis. We are working with NIHR CLAHRC West on two pieces of work, one of which is in collaboration with the Integration to Avoid Hospital Admissions HIT. Through Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, we are involved in Join Dementia Research, creating a national register of people living with dementia that wish to participate in research.
North Bristol Trust is running the international TOMMORROW study, recruiting healthy individuals to explore whether a new test can predict the genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease, and test the safety and effectiveness of medication to delay the first symptoms of memory problems. North Bristol Trust is also running several studies to test medications that might slow the progression of dementia.
We are developing our ongoing collaboration with the public and patients through our PPI facilitator. People affected by dementia can now sign-up to be involved in shaping our work and this has already contributed to grant funding applications. Professionals can access these individuals via the facilitator for input into their work.