Information packs to be given with every new dementia diagnosis in Norfolk under new project

Susan Brand (standing centre) and Alzheimer’s Society volunteers (from left) Barbara Alexander, Coli

Susan Brand (standing centre) and Alzheimer’s Society volunteers (from left) Barbara Alexander, Colin Moir, and Jackie Spode with some of the hundreds of dementia packs they helped to collate at the charity’s office in Stody, North Norfolk. - Credit: Archant

Every person diagnosed with dementia in Norfolk will be given an information pack to help them and their loved ones cope with its life-changing impacts under a new county-wide project announced today.

The aim of the initiative, part of a trial project led by various bodies, is to address the fears that a diagnosis brings and to answer commonly asked questions.

The packs, issued by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's (NSFT) Memory Assessment Service, will include a Norfolk Carers handbook, information from the Alzheimer's Society and Age UK and a safeguarding 'key', where someone with memory problems can write their name and contact details in case they become lost.

They have been inspired by 'bounty packs' given to new mothers and will be available at GP practices, dementia support groups and information hubs for anyone with a recent diagnosis.

Susan Brand, dementia support manager for the Alzheimer's Society in Norfolk, said: 'At difficult times, we all want to know there is someone there to help us. Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is certainly one of those times but unfortunately the reality for a lot of people has been that they've not known where to turn.'

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She said that the new packs 'will change this picture and open the door to the huge amounts of support and information that is available'.

'With the right support, it is possible to live well with dementia and there is no time better than Dementia Awareness Week to be getting that message across,' she said.

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'Through initiatives like this and the ongoing push by organisations, including Alzheimer's Society, to make Norfolk more dementia friendly, we can ensure that life doesn't end when dementia begins.'

The scheme follows the Dementia Health Needs Assessment, which was published in July 2014 by Norfolk County Council Public Health and which highlighted inconsistencies in the provision of information and support to patients.

They are part of the work that has been taking place as part of the Living Well With Dementia (LWWD) programme in north Norfolk.

Since the programme began, diagnosis rates in North Norfolk have improved to 58.5pc and are continuing to rise.

Dr Nicola Pinching, who chairs the LWWD project group, said: 'We have been constantly advised there is not enough information available to patients and their carers following diagnosis of dementia. The packs have been designed to address this.

'They provide a wide range of information, ranging from clinical information on the different types of dementia and medicines that may be beneficial for some patients, through to contact details for local support groups and charities.'

The packs have been jointly produced as part of a trial project led by NHS North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group in collaboration with the Carers Agency Partnership, Alzheimer's Society, Age UK Norfolk, Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service, Healthwatch Norfolk, and Wells Community Hospital. They will coincide with Dementia Awareness Week, which runs from May 17 to 25.

For more information the week and events taking place, click here.

You can also turn to our special 12-page dementia supplement in today's paper for more information.

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