I co-chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia inquiry into Dementia and co-morbidities first oral hearing on Wednesday 25th November 2015 along with Baroness Sally Greengross. Present at the inquiry were charities, academics, commissioners and healthcare professionals who provided clinical and academic evidence.
Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 7 in 10 people living with dementia are also living with another health condition. The management of long-term conditions is one of the key challenges facing the health and social care system. The inquiry will investigate the problems faced by people living with dementia and multiple morbidities as well as the threats and opportunities that face the health and social care services.
Almost two thirds (61%) of people with dementia have three or more co-morbidities. In a survey by the Alzheimer’s Society in 2015 73% of people with at least one co-morbidity stated that they were not living well with dementia. These co-morbidities can include both mental and physical conditions, ranging from infections to more chronic conditions.
It was especially great to hear from Terry Eccott, who is living with dementia and also has a heart condition about the challenges he faces. He told the inquiry that one of the issues was that there was little contact between his neurologist & GP about his heart condition and the implications and the implications this has had on his dementia.
The two most frequent co-morbidities both for men and women with dementia are hypertension and diabetes. Studies have also shown that depression is a common co-morbidity for people with dementia. We have chosen to place significant focus on the people living with dementia and other long-term conditions like these.
The key aims of the oral evidence sessions is to to hear about the experiences of people living with dementia and other conditions as well as the difficulties they face in managing their conditions. We will also aim to gain an understanding of the challenges faced by commissioners and providers of services to people living with dementia and other conditions. From the inquiry, we will make recommendations on how people who are living with dementia and co-morbidities can be better supported, and how the NHS and social services should respond to this challenge.
The APPG will hold our second evidence session for the inquiry in Parliament next week.