A successful pilot from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Norfolk and Waveney has led to memory assessment practitioners working in care homes across the region.

The DiADeM (Diagnosing Advanced Dementia Mandate) Care Homes pilot was delivered over nine months in West and South Norfolk. It saw practitioners from Norfolk and Suffolk’s memory assessment and treatment services (MATS) screen care home residents for dementia.

It then offered support to both patients with advanced symptoms and those without a diagnosis but showing cognitive decline.

The pilot proved to be successful in improving dementia care and diagnosis rates and as a result will now be rolled out more widely. The extended roll-out will receive additional funding from the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB).

Tricia D’Orsi, director of nursing at NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, said: “Integrated care is about removing traditional divisions between services, so people and communities get the support and care that they need.

“This service will enable care homes to tailor their support to better meet their residents’ needs, making a huge difference to their quality of life.”

The screening included cognitive assessment, history taking, and a review of assessment findings with GPs with a view to primary care diagnosis.

The ICB will now work with Norfolk and Suffolk’s MATS in Norfolk and Waveney with the aim of supporting the improved diagnosis rate, pathways and quality of care.

It will work to improve care plans and the advance planning for people with dementia or cognitive impairment.

It will also help improve quality of life care and disease management through better targeting of pharmacological and therapeutic treatments and improved understanding of how to support patients with dementia.

In addition, so successful was the pilot that NHS England now intends to run the pilot across other NHS trusts.

Project lead, Kumar Ponnusamy, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust dementia nurse consultant, said: “The pilot has received national recognition as best practice and the Norfolk and Waveney system are committed to continuing this good work.”

It is not the first initiative to be launched in the region to support dementia care. Last month Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust announced it had launched new virtual reality films to boost dementia education for healthcare practitioners.