This article examines possible ways to improve the effectiveness of identification of people with undiagnosed dementia in primary care. The role of Primary Care Liaison is a possible solution. An in-depth consultation, and search of the literature and policy reviews, took place to identify a draft list of the necessary competencies (or different options / combinations of competencies and competency levels).
The literature is clear about the need to improve diagnosis rates for people with dementia and to improve how diagnosis is performed. Stakeholder consultations indicated that a diagnosis is important if the person with dementia and their carers are to be able to access the appropriate services. The consultations also confirmed the need for a primary care-based role to improve early and “timely” diagnosis.
Three main areas of competency were identified:
- Health Education and Promotion.
A skilled experienced professional approach is required. A useful team model would involve this role being positioned within a “GP cluster”; since access to GP records and collaborative working with GPs is essential. Personal continuing professional development would be important for developing and maintaining the requisite competencies.
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de Vries, K. Brooker, DJ. [and] Smith, P. (2012). Dementia skills and competencies for primary care liaison: a model for improving identification and timely diagnosis. Primary Health Care Research and Development. November 6th 2012, pp.1-10. [Epub ahead of print]. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 5, January 2013].