Dementia in India: The Dementia India report 2020 estimated 5.7 million people above the age of 60 have dementia. This translates to 1 in 27 people above the age of 60. The numbers are expected to increase in the coming decades. Dementia contributes significantly to morbidity, disability and mortality among those who are affected. Current services available for dementia are inadequate. Around 90% of people with dementia remain undiagnosed. People receiving the diagnosis do not have access to quality care, treatment services, and support systems. There are ample challenges to getting access to diagnosis and care which include lack of specialists, dearth of trained professionals, poor awareness, the stigma associated with mental health, and dementia not being a public health priority. There is an urgent need for accessible, effective, and affordable services models for dementia diagnosis and care.
DemClinic: DemClinic is India's first expert-led cognitive assessment platform for the elderly. DemClinic leverages telemedicine technology to increase access to dementia screening, diagnosis, and care. The platform will help in getting timely diagnoses and faster access to experts. This initiative will reduce the need for travel, eliminate the risk of contagious infection, mitigate the stigma by providing confidential assessment and provide equal access to care in the community. The goal of the platform is to reduce the treatment gap and circumvent issues pertaining to distance, scarcity of experts and indirect costs of seeking clinical services.
DemClinic platform is designed keeping with telemedicine guidelines of India 2020, and Mental Health Act 2017, and is an initiative of the Bangalore Chapter of Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India and Nightingales Medical Trust.
There is a comprehensive range of services that will be delivered through this platform. Memory screening for older adults with memory issues, interactive videoconferencing for dementia assessments, and management by experts for people with dementia, access to information on care services, resources, and support available locally, and periodic follow-up are various services to be provided by the platform.
Cognitive screening is vital and should be treated with the same importance as other screening tests for older adults above the age of 60.Cognitive screening consists of short question-answer tests and simple tasks to identify any cognitive decline. This helps to tell if someone needs further assessment. Early diagnosis and screening are essential for treatment. While there is no cure for dementia, catching the condition early can improve the quality of life. Timely detection can also provide access to clinical trials and therapeutic interventions. It has been posited in many research evidence that a healthy lifestyle, engagement in physical, cognitive, and social activities; management of cardiovascular risk factors can reduce the risk of dementia and slows the disease progression among those diagnosed early.
An interactive videoconferencing with experts will be one of key services of the DemClinic platform. People can book appointments with experts for a nominal fee. The consult will include collection of detailed history, neuropsychological evaluation wherever necessary and generation of reports. Once clinicians have enough information to establish a probable diagnosis, advice on management and medications will be provided. Periodic follow ups and continuum of care are essential caveats of our services.
The DemClinic Directory lists services for dementia in different parts of the country. The listing includes memory clinic, day care, residential care, training and support services.