Young-onset dementia in mental health services CR217, October 2018

Note: CR217 updates and replaces CR135 (Services for Younger People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias).

This report recognises that a person with young-onset dementia (YOD) and their family will often have complex diagnostic, management and personal needs and it is important that these needs are met in a timely and effective way.

The primary message is that the needs of patients with YOD in the care of mental health trusts are best met by a dedicated specialised service which actively links with the wider clinical and social network of specialties and services, signifying the diverse needs of this patient group.

A central component of these specialised services will be staff with the right combination of expertise and training. Psychiatrists have a key role in diagnosing and managing the mental health of younger people with dementia. This can best be achieved by a multidisciplinary team that works to optimise the quality and continuity of care, including information and advice. Such a team is best placed to ensure integration between National Health Service (NHS) specialists and partnership with a broad range of services (including third sector) that help to connect patients and their families with support at home and in their community.

The report offers advice to psychiatrists on job planning, continuing professional development (CPD) and training relevant to working in this area. It also recognises that more research is required to improve the evidence base and inform future practice. Looking forward, greater integration and collaboration between key stakeholders could offer much needed strategic leverage to improve the quality and scope of services for younger people with dementia across the UK.

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