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Dementia toolkit to help patients, carers and healthcare workers

Elderly patient with carer-480p

A comprehensive web tool bringing together scientific evidence on dementia care and treatment has been developed by researchers at LSE's Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU).

Launched today (Wednesday 3 August), the Dementia Evidence Toolkit is the first of its kind in the world and brings together over 3,000 empirical journal articles and 700 systematic reviews, each of them coded according to type of dementia, care setting, outcome measured, type of intervention and country of study or authors.

The unique Toolkit provides easy access to scientific evidence on dementia care and treatment. It gives clear, evidence-based information to people living with dementia, family and other unpaid carers, staff working in health and social care sectors, local and strategic decision-makers and researchers.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There is an ongoing need to understand better the way people continue to live well - indeed as well as possible - with dementia in society today. The Toolkit puts all that evidence together in the public domain in an accessible and usable way.” 

The Toolkit was developed as part of the MODEM (Modelling the Outcome and Cost Impacts of Interventions for Dementia) project, with additional funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The wider MODEM project is funded by both the ESRC and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of their Improving Dementia Care initiative.

Alongside a searchable database, the Toolkit provides plain-language summaries of scientific evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of key dementia care and treatment interventions.

The database has been developed in consultation with commissioners, people with dementia, carers and care professionals. These summaries of interventions currently cover: advance care planning; staff training in assisted living residences (STAR); maintenance cognitive stimulation therapy; cognitive stimulation therapy; music therapy; and START: Strategies for Relatives. Each summary provides a rating for the intervention: did it work, was it cost-effective, and how strong is the evidence.

This toolkit will help people planning and shaping services and treatments for people with dementia and their carers to make informed decisions about what to provide and at what cost. In doing so, it identifies the strength of current evidence and suggests future research needs.

Professor Martin Knapp, Director of the PSSRU at LSE, NIHR Senior Investigator and lead investigator for the MODEM project, said: “As the economic impact of dementia grows, it is especially important to give commissioners and providers the information that helps them use public funds to best effect – to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. Our Toolkit draws evidence together in one place, showing which interventions work well and how much they cost.” 

The Toolkit can be accessed freely at http://toolkit.modem-dementia.org.uk/.

For more information:

For further information or interviews contact Professor Martin Knapp at m.knapp@lse.ac.uk or 020 7955 6225 or Adelina Comas-Herrera at a.comas@lse.ac.uk.

The ESRC press release and more details of the Toolkit can be found here.

Notes to editors:

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. 

The Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at LSE is one of the leading social care research groups, not just in the UK, but internationally. Since its establishment in 1974, it has had considerable impact on national social care policy in the UK and in a number of other countries. 

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR is the research arm of the NHS. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. 

Wednesday 3 August 2016