Investigation into patient experience of dementia diagnosis, Hartlepool

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Summary of report content

In September 2016, Healthwatch Hartlepool produced a report on their investigation into patient experience of dementia diagnosis. Healthwatch Hartlepool decided to look at the issue of dementia diagnosis as part of its ongoing interest in the provision of dementia care and treatment services. Despite indications that diagnosis rates in the Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group area (HAST CCG) were improving, concerns were identified that some patients were reluctant to acknowledge that they were experiencing memory problems due to stigma (perceived or otherwise) associated with the condition. In November 2015 questionnaires were sent to all G.P surgeries in Hartlepool. The questionnaire asked about the process the individual practices took with patients presenting with possible issues through to diagnosis and ongoing treatment and support, 8 practices returned the questionnaire. Discussions also took place with individuals and groups of patients and carers who have recent experience of dementia diagnosis, in total 30 patients and carers were spoken to. Overall the report stated there was evidence that diagnosis and associated procedures have improved across the G.P practices that returned questionnaires. Awareness levels amongst all staff appear to have improved and staff training on dementia awareness now happens routinely in most Practices. Some of the findings and recommendations are shown below: • Stigma attached to the condition could impair willingness to seek help and support at an early stage. • It was suggested that improvements could be made to ongoing support after diagnosis. • Every effort should be made to ensure that all parties are kept fully informed, and as far as is practicably possible have understood all aspects of diagnosis and ongoing implications. At the time of the report being published there was no response to the findings and recommendations.

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General details

Report title 
Investigation into patient experience of dementia diagnosis, Hartlepool
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Hartlepool
Date of publication 
Thursday, 1 September, 2016
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 September, 2016
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 1 September, 2016
Type of report 
Patient experience
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Staff training
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Service manager
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.