Pharmacies across Greater Manchester will become more dementia-friendly thanks to a new scheme developed by the Greater Manchester Pharmacy Local Professional Network and launched by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership today.

Over 850,000 people in the UK have dementia (there are almost 30,000 people living with dementia in Greater Manchester) and this number is rising. Sadly, there is currently no cure and as dementia is a progressive disease the symptoms will get worse over time. Alzheimer’s Society recently reported that dementia costs the UK over £26 billion a year (just under £968 million for Greater Manchester).

But far more significant than this is the personal cost of the disease. When a person with dementia finds that their mental abilities are declining, they often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance and support. The people closest to them – including their carers, friends and family – need to do everything they can to help the person to retain their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth. Local services and organisations also have a part to play and need to be dementia friendly to ensure they meet the needs of people with dementia and their families.

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The new framework being launched today clearly sets out the various ways in which local pharmacies and their teams can give greater support to people with dementia. These include:

  • Ensuring that pharmacy staff have undertaken dementia awareness training and that they have signed up to become Dementia Friends
  • Making sure that there is a quiet area available for discussion
  • Helping a person with dementia choose between medicines and/or complete repeat prescription request slips
  • Making sure other systems are in place for checking proof of identify if a person with dementia cannot remember their address
  • Checking a patient’s change with them
  • Putting specific times for taking medicines on medicines labels (eg. breakfast time, lunchtime) that fit in with how the patient takes their medicine
  • Providing reminder charts to help people with dementia take their medication at the right time
  • Setting calendar reminders to prompt patients to order their prescriptions
  • Thinking about how to speak with patients who make repeated requests for items already purchased
  • Offering a delivery service for prescriptions and encouraging delivery drivers to undertake Dementia Friends information sessions
  • Routinely collecting contact details of relatives/carers, in case of queries
  • Making sure that the pharmacy has leaflets and information about dementia and local support readily available

Dr Jane Brown, Chair of the Pharmacy Local Professional Network, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said:

“We are delighted to be launching this framework today. Pharmacy teams are ideally positioned to help people with dementia and their carers to make positive choices about their health, ensure they are taking their medicines correctly and therefore getting the most out of them and guide them to any other forms of support they may need.

“We have more than 700 community pharmacies in Greater Manchester.  We are launching the framework in Bolton this week and will work with other localities over the coming months to reach our target of at least 40% of community pharmacies signed up to this framework by 2016/2017.

“A lot of the recommendations within the framework are quite simple, human things – from taking the time to help patients with dementia choose between medicines, to setting up reminder systems to prompt patients with dementia to order their prescriptions on time – but we know they will make a big difference and will go a long way towards improving the experiences people with dementia have when visiting their local pharmacy.”

Aneet Kapoor, Chair of Community Pharmacy Greater Manchester said:

“Community pharmacies are situated in high street locations, in neighbourhood centres, in supermarkets and in the heart of communities. Our teams often have more contact with patients and the local community than any other healthcare professional. We are proudly supporting the Dementia Friends initiative by creating a community of Dementia Friends within community pharmacies across Greater Manchester. Pharmacy colleagues will receive training in order to better support those living with dementia, and their carers.”

As part of the historic Greater Manchester devolution agreement, dementia has been set as an early priority for health and social care reform in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority area. Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of Salford Royal Foundation Trust, is leading a dementia transformation programme called ‘Dementia United’.

Over the next five years, this programme of work aims to bring together partners from across Greater Manchester to improve the lived experiences of people with dementia and reduce pressure on the health and social care system.

George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society said: “7 in 10 people with dementia live with one or more co-morbidities. This means they often have a number of medicines to manage at the same time. This can be challenging for both the person with dementia and their carer.”

“It is important that pharmacies, along with other high street health and wellbeing service providers such as opticians and dentists, are equipped to support the needs of people affected by dementia and take on the role as a community hub. The launch of this dementia-friendly pharmacies framework in Greater Manchester is a step towards this vision.

“As part of the Prime Minister’s Champion Group, Alzheimer’s Society has been working to ensure that pharmacies nationwide are equipped and empowered to support people affected by dementia to enable them to live the life they want to lead.

“With dementia a priority for Greater Manchester devolution, initiatives such as this help showcase the ways that community organisations, including pharmacies can play their part in making Greater Manchester a great place for people with dementia to live.”

To find out more about the Dementia Friendly Pharmacy framework, please contact AGM.Optometry-Pharmacy@nhs.net To find out more about the Dementia Friends initiative, please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk/

Alzheimer’s Society is available for anyone affected by dementia and there are lots of ways the charity can help you. Call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit www.alzheimers.org.uk

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