A comprehensive, web-based dementia toolkit bringing together scientific evidence on dementia care and treatment has been developed by researchers at LSE’s Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU).

The Dementia Evidence Toolkit is the first of its kind in the world and brings together over 3,000 empirical journal articles and 700 systematic reviews, each of them coded according to type of dementia, care setting, outcome measured, type of intervention and country of study or authors.

The unique dementia toolkit provides easy access to scientific evidence on dementia care and treatment. It gives clear, evidence-based information to people living with dementia, family and other unpaid carers, staff working in health and social care sectors, local and strategic decision-makers and researchers.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said, ‘There is an ongoing need to understand better the way people continue to live well – indeed as well as possible – with dementia in society today. The Toolkit puts all that evidence together in the public domain in an accessible and usable way.’

The Toolkit was developed as part of the MODEM (Modelling the Outcome and Cost Impacts of Interventions for Dementia) project, with additional funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The wider MODEM project is funded by both the ESRC and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of its Improving Dementia Care initiative.

Alongside a searchable database, the dementia toolkit provides plain-language summaries of scientific evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of key dementia care and treatment interventions.

The database has been developed in consultation with commissioners, people with dementia, carers and care professionals. These summaries of interventions currently cover: advance care planning; staff training in assisted living residences; maintenance cognitive stimulation therapy; cognitive stimulation therapy; music therapy; and START: Strategies for Relatives. Each summary provides a rating for the intervention: did it work, was it cost-effective, and how strong is the evidence.

This dementia toolkit will help people planning and shaping services and treatments for people with dementia and their carers to make informed decisions about what to provide and at what cost. In doing so, it identifies the strength of current evidence and suggests future research needs.

Professor Martin Knapp, Director of the PSSRU at LSE, NIHR Senior Investigator and lead investigator for the MODEM project, said, ‘As the economic impact of dementia grows, it is especially important to give commissioners and providers the information that helps them use public funds to best effect – to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. Our Toolkit draws evidence together in one place, showing which interventions work well and how much they cost.’

The dementia toolkit can be accessed here.