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GPs set for QOF indicators to support dementia carers

GPs will be required to assess the emotional and psychological needs of carers for people with dementia under a trio of indicators proposed for the 2014/15 QOF, NICE decided yesterday.

NICE is piloting the indicators – which are designed to better support the carers of people with dementia - in practices across the UK this year, with a view of including them in the 2014/15 QOF.

The QOF currently requires that practices create a register of patients diagnosed with dementia and address their health needs, but this could be extended to carers of those patients.

The proposed new indictors include points for creating a register of patients who are carers of a person with dementia, annually assessing their emotional, psychological and social needs and delivering tailored interventions, if appropriate.

Previous attempts of establishing a register of carers of people with dementia have been problematic and so the pilots will look into the difficulties of implementing the indicators nationally.

It is hoped they will iron out problems such as the patient with dementia and the carer being registered at different practices.

The Committee heard how the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 and the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 identified the lack of standardisation of assessments and the difficulty of meeting carers' needs, and a 2010 Information Society survey of adult carers in England found that only 54% were ‘extremely or very satisfied' with the support received by both they and the person they cared for.

NICE committee chair Dr Colin Hunter said: ‘Carers are the most stressed people in our community and if anything we can do to help them we should.

‘Our emotional sense tells us it's very important to look after these people.'

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