by Professor G. Waldemar –
Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen, Denmark
A “National Action Plan 2025” was launched recently by the Danish government, with broad support from most political parties, and a funding of € 63 mill. for 2017-2019.
The plan sets ambitious overarching goals towards 2025 for the care of patients with dementia in Denmark: 1. Denmark shall be a dementia friendly country, where people with dementia can have a dignified and safe life;
2) treatment and care for people with dementia will be based on individual needs and values, and be offered in coherent pathways, with a focus on prevention, best evidence and more research;
3) caregivers shall be involved actively and have better access to support .
By 2025 Denmark will have 98 dementia friendly municipalities, the diagnostic rate (a proxy for good post-diagnostic support) will be improved, and the level of antipsychotic treatment of patients with dementia (a proxy for good professional care) will be reduced by 50%.
Five focus areas set the stage for a total of 23 initiatives:
- Early diagnosis and better quality of diagnostic evaluation and medical care;
- Better quality of care and rehabilitation;
- Support and counselling to caregivers of people with dementia;
- Dementia friendly society;
- Better education and research.
Of particular interest for neurologists are:
- The development of a new quick tool for diagnosis of dementia for general practitioners and community-based health care staff.
- Organisation of multi-disciplinary out-patient memory clinics who will be responsible for diagnostic evaluation of patients with dementia referred from general practitioners. The new memory clinics will have catchment areas of 300.000 – 400.000 inhabitants and specialists from neurology, geriatrics and psychiatry as well as neuropsychologists and specialist nurses.
- New GRADE-based national guidelines for (a) the diagnosis MCI and dementia disorders in the early phase, (b) treatment and care for patients with dementia and behavioral symptoms, (c) management of medication for patients with dementia.
- The development of a national research strategy
The Danish Ministry of Health and the Elderly, the Danish Health Authority, and several other national authorities are overlooking the implementation of the 23 nationwide initiatives.
The positive effects of this new initiative will have long lasting effects on the care of people living with dementia in Denmark.