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Understanding the impact of pre-assessment counselling in dementia

Understanding pre-assessment counselling (PAC) in dementia: Its core elements, strengths, limitations and impact upon people living with dementia and their families

What we are doing?

The research will assess the effectiveness of the PAC appointment in providing timely dementia diagnoses and suggest improvements to make and state the essential PAC components.  A structured approach to PAC based on all clinical features of the key findings will be devised.  This standard will be compared to current HIV pre-assessment counselling practice.  The experiences of carers of people who have experienced PAC will be compared with those who have not and measure fear of dementia and wellbeing as so to determine the impact of PAC upon the person presenting with cognitive impairments. 

Why we are doing it?

Understanding how and why PAC is useful and effective in reducing stigma and enabling timely diagnoses could improve the quality of the services currently operating and improved patient wellbeing.  It provides the opportunity to explore possible fears potentially driven by acknowledged cognitive changes which are often correlated with the level of problems. The research aims to improve increased diagnosis appointments and develop a ‘gold standard of best practice’ that enhances knowledge and understanding, raise the profile and influence key policy makers concerning PAC.  Clinically relevant guidance will be determine which will make clear recommendations for how it can be implemented.

What the benefits will be and to whom?

Benefits immediately lie with people with dementia (PwD) and their families as PAC seeks to improve wellbeing. Clinicians benefit from the recommendations for best practice through a quality framework devised by PwD, families and PAC practitioners as it would represent a view that is based on the expertise of all stakeholders. If GPs are aware of the value of PAC processes, they can emphasise to individuals who are ambivalent about referral for assessment that this would be the first step.  This would have ramifications on the psychological, physical and financial well-being of PwD, their carers and families and society. 

Who we are working with?

Nottingham Trent University, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trusts and Hereford and Worcestershire Health Service. 


Marie Janes, PhD student, Nottingham Trent University,