An accurate and timely diagnosis is an essential part of living as well as possible with dementia. A diagnosis is an important first step towards accessing treatment, support, information and advice to help families adjust to life with dementia.
However in 2016 it took twice as long for younger people to be diagnosed as it did older people. Younger people tend to have rarer types of dementia and they may not experience memory loss. Signs and symptoms can include behaviour, personality or mood changes which can be mistaken for other conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression or relationship problems.
The Young Dementia Network, of which Dementia UK is an active member, has worked with GPs to create a tool that is designed to support GPs in the recognition and understanding of young onset and rarer forms of dementia.
The pilot version of this GP decision making tool will be available for GPs to use and comment on from April 2017, with the aim of making the final version available to all GPs across the UK later in the year.
Dr Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK says,
“Diagnosing dementia in young people is not always easy and it can take months, or in some cases years, before an accurate diagnosis is given. This can lead to pressures on the family and can result in breakdowns of relationships, employment and social networks.
“This new decision-making tool will help support GPs so they are better equipped to identify the signs which suggest that a referral to a specialist diagnostic service is required.”
Please click here for further information and to view the tool.
Feedback is welcome from GPs, people living with young onset dementia, their family and other professionals who have an interest in the document.