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British Psychological Society

The BPS promotes excellence and ethical practice in the science, education and practical applications of psychology. The Faculty of the Psychology of Older People, within the Division of Clinical Psychology, specialises in the psychology of later life, including the psychological needs of people with a dementia.

10 February 2016
Health, Membership Organisations, Hospitals and Hospital Trusts

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

PSIGE is the Faculty of Old Age Psychology within the Division of Clinical Psychology, British Psychological Society. Our vision is to promote psychological well being in later life by supporting psychologists to work with older people and to champion their psychological needs. We have 564 members across the UK, and the Faculty supports members to share and foster best practice in clinical work with older people with dementia and their carers, as well as older people with mental health problems.  Our website can be found at www.psige.org. 

The Faculty is committed to supporting the National Dementia Strategy in England, the Dementia Plan in Wales and the Dementia Strategy in Scotland. The Faculty's national Dementia Lead is leading a programme of work over the next two years that will support our members to deliver the Strategy.

At a national level, the Faculty will articulate the psychological approaches across the care pathway that are effective in assessing and managing the condition, ranging from evidence of best practice in diagnosis and post-diagnostic support through to management of behaviour and end of life care. 

In addition, the Faculty will give particular emphasis to sharing our expertise in the management of the behavioural symptoms of dementia. As well as causing great distress for many people these behaviours are known to increase the likelihood of admission to long term care, consequently increasing the cost of care. However, Professor Banerjee's 2009 report to the Minister of State for Care Services into the use of antipsychotic medications demonstrates that there is no pharmacological panacea for the management of these behaviours. By collating evidence regarding the effectiveness of psychological approaches in managing these behaviours the Faculty hopes to make a significant contribution to delivering a key aspect of the Strategy. 

Furthermore, the Faculty will liaise with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to champion the development of a clinical guideline for practice in this area, and the development of national quality standards for the provision of non-pharmacological treatments of these behaviours. 

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Faculty members represent a dedicated professional group who deliver highly effective interventions. However, the relatively small size of the profession means that they are not always consulted on developments locally or nationally in order to share their expertise on working with people with dementia. In addition, the Faculty does not have the infrastructure and resources of some other professional organisations to proactively advocate and lobby for the inclusion of psychological approaches in policy and practice developments. At a national level, there is no lead professional within the Department of Health to champion psychological practice. Furthermore, whilst there is a wealth of evidence on the effectiveness of psychological interventions in dementia this is not encapsulated in NICE clinical guidelines or quality standards. The lack of such national guidance and standards means that providers are not measured on their delivery of psychological interventions to people with dementia and their carers. The Faculty does work collaboratively with the Royal Colleges of Psychiatry and General Practitioners as well as liaising and networking with voluntary organisations but would like to strengthen these links and be seen as a core group in consultations.  

Member contacts


2. Actions

  • Produce papers regarding clinical psychology in dementia and communication about a diagnosis

    Development of papers entitled:

    - An accessible paper outlining the role of Clinical Psychology in Dementia care pathways

    - Communicating a diagnosis of Dementia

    To put papers out to consultation for feedback from DAA membership and that of BPS readership

    Being implemented

    2015 - Fourth Quarter Update

    Papers distrbuted for consultation

  • Launch of suite of papers regarding psychological care in dementia.

    The suite of papers on psychological perspectives within Dementia care will be launched formerly at the Divison of Clinical Psychology, within The British Psychological Society, annual conference in Glasgow in December 2014. The papers include:

    o Pre-diagnostic counselling and consent – Jenny LaFontaine and Anna Buckell.

    o Cognitive Assessment – Daniel Collerton, Rachel Domone and Slyvia Dillon.

    o Communicating about a diagnosis of dementia – Gemma Murphy

    o Post-diagnostic psychosocial interventions – Rik Cheston, Esme Moniz-Cook, and Sue Watts.

    o Dementia Service User Position Paper – DEEP, Nada Savich, and Reinhard Guss.

    o Compendium of psychosocial interventions – Reinhard Guss and Esme Moniz-Cook, et al.