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Early diagnosis for people with dementia can reduce costs

Published 14 July 2010

An early diagnosis of dementia followed by information and support reduces outpatient costs by almost 30 percent, claims new research presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease.

The project was led by the Geriatric Research Education and Clinic Centre at the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center. Seven medical centres took part in the project, which was created to increase detection, diagnosis of dementia and provide support for these people following their diagnosis. The researchers compared costs for 347 people who took part in the project with 1260 who did not.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'An early diagnosis is hugely important as it enables people with dementia to understand their condition, access treatments that could help relieve their symptoms and gives them time to plan for the future. Support following the diagnosis is also vital if people with dementia and their carers are to have the best quality of life possible.'

'In this difficult economic climate getting better at supporting people earlier can avoid costly hospital visits and can help carers carry on caring for people at home delaying or avoiding residential care. With the number of people with dementia set to reach a million in 15 years, these costs will only spiral yet with proper planning and better use of resources the cost can be contained.'

Ruth Sutherland
Acting Chief Executive
Alzheimer's Society

Ref: John R. McCarten, et al. Changes In Outpatient Costs Following Screening And Diagnosis Of Cognitive Impairment.