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This blog post was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Evaluation of dementia advisers and peer support networks

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Post-diagnostic support for people with dementia and their carers is a crucial element of dementia care, not only to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their carer’s, but also to increase their independence and reduce the likelihood of them going into hospital or residential care. This was recognised in the National Dementia Strategy and more recently in the development of the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia.

The Strategy contained specific recommendations on the appointment of dementia advisers and the establishment of structured peer support networks. In response to these recommendations, 40 demonstrator sites were funded by the Department to assess the effectiveness of dementia advisers and peer support networks in providing good quality post-diagnostic care. 

The evaluation carried out by Professor Charlotte Clarke provides positive evidence on the value of these services.  In particular, it demonstrates:

  • The positive impact of dementia advisers and peer support networks on the wellbeing and quality of life of people with dementia and carers.  People with dementia and their carer’s were both very positive about the benefits of having a dementia adviser to provide them with guidance, and of peer support networks in linking them to people who were in the same position;
  • Both initiatives had resource saving implications for the local health and social care economy;
  • They played a key role in raising awareness of dementia and tackling stigma.

We recommend that all providers of local dementia services take careful account of these findings in developing their plans for post-diagnostic support in future.

A full evaluation of the demonstrator sites is now available.

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  1. Comment by karen crosby posted on

    getting the diagnosis correct and conveying it in an empathic manner is also crucial. It is hoped that registrars and other clinicians working in this area understand that it is just as devastating a diagnosis to give as that as cancer. It should be given the same weight as you would expect to give to conveying that diagnosis. Advisors are a great idea for the long term but clinicians have a very important role in that inital time when the diagnosis is made. Trainning in conveying the diagnosis I feel is crucial.