Specialist nurses to spot early signs of dementia

By Liz Lockhart

A new drive to better care for those with dementia is being implemented in Norfolk. Thirteen specialist nurses who have been trained to spot the early signs of dementia have been recruited by the NHS.

Hoping to cut hospital stays of patients whose symptoms could be dealt with more comfortably and properly at home, the initiative is looking to cut costs of hospital admissions, whilst giving patients the most appropriate care.

These nurses will work from GP surgeries to try to diagnose patients before the illness develops further.

Dementia sufferers will also get further aid in the form of another mental health team which is also being employed at hospitals in Norwich and King’s Lynn.

‘The delay in diagnosis is caused by all sorts of factors but one of them is still the prevalent idea that forgetfulness is a normal thing’ said Hugo Dewall of the Trust.

‘If you dismiss it in that way you might do someone a disfavour.  An illness really should be treated’ he added.

From this autumn a Dementia Intensive Support Team will work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn at a cost of £450,000.

Dementia is on the rise and with an increasingly ageing population it seems initiatives like this could be the way forward. We at Mental Health are pleased to see the trust being proactive in looking for new ways to treat and manage the disease. This particular initiative seems to be one that could not only help patients, it could also change the way we look at the management of the condition more effectively in the community.

‘The choices offered to people diagnosed with dementia and their carers by the timely, proactive response of the Intensive Support Team will enable a quicker return home’ said Gary Hazeldon from the Trust.

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