Every 3.2 minutes someone develops dementia in the UK and the only way to beat the condition is through research. With this in mind, Lancashire Care is working together with a range of partners to improve access to Dementia Research for people living across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
The Office of the National Director for Dementia Research has recently announced Lancashire & South Cumbria as one of seven Exemplar Regions to showcase as leaders in the dementia research field. Led by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, the North West Coast (NWC) Strategic Clinical Network and NWC National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), partners have been working together over the last 18 months to bring together all of the relative opportunities to promote research for people with dementia and their families. The Exemplar will see the partners accelerating their collective efforts and focussing in initially on one geographical area – Fylde Coast.
The Trust and wider stakeholders are working hard to ensure that at least 25% of people newly diagnosed with dementia choose to register on ‘Join Dementia Research’, a National Register set up to help people experiencing dementia now, as well as helping to prevent people from developing dementia in the future.
Dr Mark Worthington, Consultant Psychiatrist for Older Adults at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Dementia is increasing in the UK with at least 850 000 people currently living with dementia. There are many causes of dementia the commonest being Alzheimer’s disease; this means beating one cause of dementia doesn’t prevent all dementias. The only way we can beat dementia is by investing and taking part in research. In the past, opportunities for patient and public involvement in dementia research has not been actively promoted. It’s really important that we give people this chance, and it’s a great privilege for us as a team and an organisation to be able to support people interested in dementia research to take part.
“Research can be about all aspects of dementia, not just drug treatments. No one will ever be pressured into taking part in research and people always have the choice of whether to take part in any studies offered. I would encourage everyone to look at key websites such as the Alzheimer’s Society and Join Dementia Research to find out more about dementia, research in dementia, and to join the dementia research register. I’m on it, please join me!”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who has held Dementia Champion session in his constituency, said:
“I have always been passionate about improving quality of life and opportunities for those diagnosed with dementia.
“Back in 2016 I brought to the Prime Minister’s attention the collaborative work we had commenced here across Lancashire AND South Cumbria aiming to improve access to research.
“As per the Dementia 2020 Challenge, we want to support access to research for people with dementia and their families and I personally remain determined that my constituency will become one of the first in the country to recruit 25 per cent of people living with dementia.”
Dr Amanda Thornton, Dementia Clinical Lead for the North West Coast Strategic Clinical Network and Digital Health Clinical Lead for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria said:
“Dementia research can provide people affected with a sense of renewed hope and empowerment. We are delighted that our efforts to increase access has been recognised by the Office of the National Director for Dementia Research and are proud that Lancashire and South Cumbria have been chosen as a National Exemplar on the Enhancing Research In Care (ERICA) programme.
“We are very much looking forward to the continued support of Lancashire Care in considering innovative workforce and pathway developments that would truly facilitate people with dementia being offered access to research as a natural part of assessment, diagnosis and support. It is important that we recognise that we would not be in this fantastic position if it wasn’t for the significant contribution made by the Memory Assessment Service on the Fylde Coast under the clinical and operational leadership of Dr Mark Worthington and Laura Barnes.”
For more information please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/dementia or visit www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk/content/howitworks.