24 March 2015

Pharmacy scheme raises dementia diagnosis rates

A small-scale evaluation project has demonstrated the value of using in-pharmacy Cantab Mobile assessments to help identify patients that might otherwise be missed.

Pharmacies in North East Lincolnshire took part in a 12-week study, funded by Community Pharmacy Humber, using Cantab Mobile the study reassured the worried well and helped identify patients with the earliest clinically relevant signs of memory loss. 

In the first eight weeks the study identified 72 patients with a level of memory impairment suggesting the need for further investigation by their GPs. Most patients requesting the in-pharmacy test admitted they were concerned about their memory but did not want to “trouble” or “waste [the GP’s] time”. 

The study used Cantab Mobile, designed to detect the earliest signs of episodic memory loss (one of the first warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias) in patients aged 50 to 90 years of age. The pharmacies carried out 171 tests during the initial eight week period. 

Anyone who needed to be referred was reminded as sensitively as possible that there was no need to worry, and that memory changes can be caused by a range of medical conditions that can be treated and resolved, and advised to make a follow-up appointment with their GP. “The vast majority of customers we recruited into the study were happy to discuss their memory worries with us because they trusted our advice or felt more comfortable coming into the pharmacy than going to their GP,” says pharmacist Tim Cottingham of Cottingham Pharmacy. “With each test I gained confidence in speaking about what is a delicate subject for many elderly people.”

Pharmacy magazine featured the study, read the full article:

Courtesy of Pharmacy Magazine.

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