The Alzheimer's Society set up the dementia campaign to boost diagnosis rates and provide more support.

The Alzheimer’s Society is calling on all political parties in Northern Ireland to get behind their new campaign to improve diagnosis rates in the country.

It’s thought there are 20,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in Northern Ireland (hence the #20000reasons campaign hashtag), but nearly 7,000 have not received a diagnosis, meaning they do not get the information, care and support to help them.

Diagnosis rates in Northern Ireland vary massively between trusts, with the Belfast Trust achieving an impressive 72.9%, but the Northern Trust only managing 55.9% diagnosis rate.

Bernadine McCrory, Director of Operations for Alzheimer’s Society in Northern Ireland, said:

‘Getting a diagnosis is a gateway to information, support and services that enable people with dementia to live well and independently for longer. Not having a diagnosis can compromise a person’s general health and wellbeing and can lead to an earlier need for residential and nursing care. It is vital that a timely diagnosis is not reliant on luck or location.

‘The 20,000 reasons campaign is calling on all the parties to commit to work with Alzheimer’s Society to ensure consistency of diagnosis rates across all trusts and that people with dementia are given information, support and care from the point of diagnosis.’

As part of the #20000reasons campaign, the Society has identified five main priorities for action:

- Increase the dementia diagnosis rate to 75% across all Health and Social Care Trusts.
- Give people access to a Dementia Support Worker from the point of diagnosis.
- Compel Health and Social Care Trusts to commission quality home care for people with dementia.
- Call on the Department of Health to run a recurring public information campaign to raise awareness of dementia and to help people reduce the risk of developing it.
- Promote dementia-friendly communities throughout Northern Ireland, starting with Northern Ireland Assembly in the first year of the new term.

For more information on dementia diagnosis, click here.