A new, credit card-sized information leaflet for patients with dementia and their carers has been launched to mark Dementia Awareness Week.
As of March this year, there were 2,989 people diagnosed with dementia in Northumberland. In partnership with colleagues in health and social care, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working hard to improve timely diagnosis of dementia and this card forms a part of those efforts.
Frances Naylor, director of long-term conditions for Northumberland CCG, said: "Dementia is a serious, life-limiting disease and as such timely diagnosis is important. Having a diagnosis helps people to plan for the future, make their wishes known and helps healthcare professionals and social services look after them properly. Diagnosing dementia can ensure that care offered to patients is appropriate and improves their quality of life. This card aims to help people access the information they need, particularly around financial issues, coping skills and signposting to support available at the early stages of dementia."
The cards, which provide details of where patients suffering from dementia, their families and carers can access support, have been produced by the CCG in partnership with public-health colleagues from Northumberland County Council.
Jan Thompson, senior manager for public health at Northumberland County Council, said: "For people living with dementia, access to timely diagnosis, information and support can influence their ability to continue living a healthy and fulfilling life for as long as possible. Continuing to be active and valued is a key aspect of life for people currently living with dementia in Northumberland. We hope these cards will result in improved care for patients with dementia, who are able to better navigate the sources of support available to them in Northumberland."
A team including GPs, consultants, nurses, social care representatives, public-health representatives and the voluntary sector were involved in the design process. More than 4,000 have been distributed to GPs, hospitals, social-care and mental-health providers. Cards will be given to patients and their carers at the most appropriate time along the person's dementia journey.