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Early detection of dementia has been enabled by new software used by The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

By cg_ailsam  |  Posted: December 15, 2013

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The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is using 'invaluable' software to help identify sufferers of dementia.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has implemented software designed to support NHS Trusts with early diagnosis and to improve care of patients with dementia.

The software that was implemented in March this year works by prompting healthcare professionals based at the Trust to make assessments for people with suspected dementia, while guiding them to the correct care pathway.

Early diagnosis will play a key role in tackling dementia because currently less than half of dementia patients are diagnosed, according to the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

Associate director of nursing and consultant nurse for older people at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Frazer Underwood said: "This system means we are able to ensure that all patients over 75-years-old are identified, assessed and referred as appropriate.

“It enables us to increase the early identification of people with dementia.

"The health service and its partners across the county are proactive in addressing dementia, from GPs' diagnosis to support services led by the third sector.

“The high profile of our dementia work in Cornwall means that the ability of IMS MAXIMS to contribute meaningfully to improving services is invaluable.”

The Trust opted to deploy an electronic rather than a paper-based system, from software supplier IMS MAXIMS, which is an electronic patient record provider.

The system provides enhanced data collection, ability to record findings, enhanced assessment and investigation.

The software, takes users step-by-step through each of the CQUIN target’s three stages, Find, Assess and Investigate and Refer (FAIR), allowing trusts to easily collate data ready for extraction.

For example, the Find stage uses the software’s Confusion Assessment Screening where users can identify whether patients have delirium or dementia within 72 hours of admittance, according to The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

It can also be tailored so that clinical users establish a simple workflow, identifying dementia symptoms and other cognitive impairments early, resulting in more accurate referrals to the appropriate diagnostic assessment, treatment and support, according to The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

Health secretary, Jeremy Hunt said: "This mustn't be about paying lip service to dementia, it must be about actually changing things - and the biggest thing we can do is make sure we have a proper diagnosis to people.”

In Cornwall, there is 10 percent more older people than the national average and the prevalence of dementia correlates with that higher figure, according to The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

According to the The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust dementia affects an estimated 670,000 people in England alone, with this figure expected to double in the next 30 years.

This is already resulting in more than 25 percent of general hospital beds at any one time being occupied by patients who have been diagnosed with dementia.

Currently only around 42 percent of people with dementia in England have a formal diagnosis, according to statistics by The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

CEO of IMS MAXIMS, Shane Tickell said: “The misdiagnosis and delayed or incorrect treatment of long term conditions such a dementia is placing a huge strain on our NHS, with dementia estimated to cost our society in excess of £19bn a year.

“The drive and innovation of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust using this system to manage the identification and referral process for dementia patients has produced excellent results.

“Our aim is to help trusts capture data as easily and effectively as possible to improve the identification and quality of care of dementia patients and to receive the correct payments for doing so.”

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  • BobToronto  |  December 16 2013, 5:39PM

    Fair is catching. But surely it should be Fiar. Investigate before assessment Am I missing something?

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