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Dementia tests for East Lancashire over-75s
ALL patients aged 75 and over attending East Lancashire hospitals will be screened for dementia.
The announcement, made at a recent board meeting for the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, includes all emergency and operative admissions.
John Dean, associate medical director for service integration, said: “We want to get it into the normal care process for standard patients.
“We will be asking a simple question to the patient or their family members, such as ‘have you noticed a change in your ability to remember or function within the last 12 months?’ “That is the first screening question that we hope will not be offensive. If the answer is yes, then the second stage of screening will be more detailed.
“If we identify someone as having signs of dementia, we will then refer them to the memory assessment service and will start to put together a support package for them.”
The screening is part of the trust’s dementia strategy, which also includes ‘calm’ lighting and colour areas, a butterfly symbol identifying dementia patient’s files, and volunteer carers.
In time, there are plans to roll the screening out to include younger patients.
Roger Duckworth, a non-executive director, asked at the meeting: “Will we be explaining to the patient why we’re asking?”
Mr Dean said: “We will explain that it’s part of the standard health check. It the patient gets to the next step, then it is imperative that we explain why we are doing it.”
Hazel Harding, chairman of the trust, said: “I think it’s brilliant. I visited a friend of mine who isn’t over 75 and who has early onset dementia.
“A stranger wouldn’t have known, so I’m really pleased we’re doing this, and we’re doing it so well.”