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Greener dementia care in the hands of every carer

HammondCare in the UK has received funding to help improve patient care in England while also making the National Health Service greener. 

The funding will be used to develop the Virtual Dementia Behaviour Support Clinic, a specialist, virtual clinic, accessible anywhere, anytime for family, unpaid and paid carers of people experiencing severe behaviours associated with dementia. 

The app will be hosted by MyPathway, a trusted NHS technology provider and will:

  • Offer a low-carbon, self-service escalation point for carers, and reduce unnecessary use of primary, secondary and crisis services.
  • Provide highly tailored advice to address the underlying cause of behaviour and focus on non-pharmacological approaches including social prescribing.
  • Preliminary forecasts show a significant potential to de-carbonise existing pathways. 

The funding has been awarded by SBRI Healthcare, an Accelerated Access Collaborative initiative in partnership between patient groups, government bodies, industry and the NHS hosted by NHS England, delivered in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).

The Virtual Dementia Behaviour Support Clinic will help carers identify the reasons behind dementia behaviours and psychological symptoms, providing in-the-moment, personalised support, education, and resources to respond to them effectively. With the potential for reduced hospitalisations, efficient use of healthcare resources, improved medication experiences, and enhanced caregiver wellbeing, the app aims to save costs and improve outcomes.

Dr Julie Christie, Programme Manager, said: “By reducing the need for in-person consultations and emergency visits and support, the Virtual Dementia Behaviour Support Clinic helps to minimise travel, staff and resource use and reduce carbon emissions by providing the right advice to carers and targeting in-person assistance to when it’s needed. This makes it an ideal solution for Integrated Care Boards and Primary Care Networks that want to prioritise both patient care and environmental sustainability targets.”

Judith Clarkson, Commercial Director MyPathway, a VitalHub company, commented: “We are excited to partner with HammondCare to deliver the Virtual Dementia Behaviour Support Clinic.

“We believe this initiative will deliver significant benefits across primary and secondary care networks and help increase the availability and convenience of accessing care for patients. We have seen from working in other specialities of care, such as Motor Neurone Disease and Musculoskeletal, how effective a patient portal app can be in supporting clinicians and patients to communicate regularly without the need for face-to-face appointments.

“The number of people with dementia in the UK is growing and is expected to increase to over 1 million by 2030, which will only further intensify the demand on the existing dementia care pathways. The Virtual Dementia Behaviour Support Clinic will help relieve some of this pressure, and we are proud to be part of this project.”

The initial design phase working with a wide range of stakeholders will run until the end of July 2023.   

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