Alzheimer’s: support needed

Old Age psychiatrists need better access to diagnostic tools and training in order to take advantage of breakthroughs in dementia treatments, a new report says.

The report, from Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Royal College of Psychiatrists “Are we ready to deliver disease modifying treatments?” finds that specialists are keen to embrace the arrival of new dementia drug treatments, but need much more support in order to effectively implement them into their clinical practices.

The joint research highlights significant gaps in support that old age psychiatrists need to effectively diagnose people with Alzheimer’s Disease before dementia and deliver future treatments to those living with the condition.

Over 500 old age psychiatrists contributed to the report which shows that services are not ready to deliver disease modifying treatments for Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia:

  • 36% of psychiatrists thought their services could adapt to deliver disease modifying treatments within a year
  • 6% of psychiatry services are able to fully meet the current NICE guidelines regarding accessing further biomarker and diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Mani Krishnan, chair of the OA Faculty, said:

“Early accurate diagnosis plays a vital role in the treatment of Dementia. It’s important that Psychiatrists are given access to the diagnostic tools and the training to help reduce the progression of this debilitating illness by way of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease even before developing dementia.
“We need to work collaboratively with NHS across the country to ensure that we continue to improve care for the 1 million people living with the dementia, as well as supporting their loved ones. We’re seeing pockets of variability in accessing the right specialised diagnostic tools. This needs addressing as this report has highlighted.”

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