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IoP professor wins top Alzheimer's research award

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Dr Sube Banerjee, one of the world’s leading experts on Alzheimer’s disease is the recipient of an international award for the best evidence-based psychosocial intervention for people with dementia and their caregivers. The award was presented last night by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and the Fondation Médéric Alzheimer (France) at the 26th Annual International Conference of ADI in Toronto, Canada.

Psychosocial research refers to both the social and psychological aspects of a patient's life and benefits those who are living with dementia and their caregivers.

Dr Banerjee, a Professor of Mental Health and Ageing at the Institute of Psychiatry at King College London, who co-authored Britain’s landmark Living well with dementia - National Dementia Strategy won the award for his work on the Croydon Memory Service Model. Located in the south London borough of Croydon, this innovative service is designed to make the health system work better for everyone affected by dementia through earlier diagnosis and intervention.

General practitioners are supported by the Croydon Memory Service in making referrals of people with memory difficulties or other symptoms of possible dementia. The Service offers a comprehensive assessment and makes a diagnosis accurately and quickly. Family members are involved in both the assessment and feedback sessions and, if appropriate, receive a range of services to help minimise the challenges of coping with dementia.

Research by Dr Banerjee’s team showed the service can increase by up to six times the proportion of people diagnosed with dementia. The evidence also showed that the service benefits everyone affected by the disease, including patients, caregivers, doctors, social workers and society in general.

‘The biggest problem we're facing today is that only a third of people with dementia ever receive a proper diagnosis and usually when it is too late,’ explained Dr. Banerjee. ‘The Croydon Memory Service Model provides a solution to this problem.  Early diagnosis and intervention can be achieved for all.

'This allows people with dementia and their families to make their own choices and to decide their own futures. It decreases institutionalisation, prevents caregiver strain, promotes good quality of life and helps people to live well with dementia.'

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of ADI, says the Croydon model demonstrates how creativity and community resources can produce a practical and effective program with amazing results. ‘Anyone who wants to improve dementia care in their community should learn from this model.’

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