Is prevention better than cure

Dementia risk reduction in primary care

Project Lead: Professor Louise Robinson
Project Team: Dr Claire Bamford, Dr Johanne Dow, Dr Greta Rait, Dr Kate Walters, Professor Nadeem Qureshi
There are ~850,000 people in the United Kingdom (UK) with dementia; this has considerable impact on families and care costs. The number of people developing dementia compared to 20 years ago is 20% lower than predicted. We think this has been influenced by health promotion for example stopping smoking. This has led to the Prime Minister’s current dementia challenge recommending dementia risk assessments for people from mid-life (i.e. 40+ years) in order to reduce further future numbers of people developing dementia.  
GPs currently use risk assessment tools for people at risk of heart and stroke disease but not for dementia. Research to develop an accurate and practical tool for dementia risk assessment is ongoing but we do not know whether such a tool would be acceptable to ‘users’ e.g. patients and GPs.   
This study builds on earlier SPCR funded research exploring the views of the public and GPs about the acceptability and use of dementia case finding in primary care. However our previous study only recruited i) older people (over 65 years) and ii) a small number of GPs.  We now seek the views of 
▪ a younger age group of the public i.e. those who would benefit most from earlier risk reduction intervention and 
▪ a larger sample of GP views.   
We will do this in two ways. Firstly we will interview the public and GPs to seek their views in detail. We will tape the interviews and review them to see what key issues come out. Using these findings, we will develop an electronic survey to seek a larger number of professional views. 
We will summarise our findings and feed back to the Department of Health, Public Health England and key voluntary organisations for dementia care in order to influence future policy and primary care service provision.