Division of Clinical Psychology


Friday 5th December sees the launch at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology Annual Conference in Glasgow of Clinical Psychology in Early Stage Dementia Care Pathway and A Guide to Psychosocial Interventions in Dementia. 

Reinhard Guss, the Faculty of the Psychology of Older People’s Dementia Work stream lead, has coordinated the work which developed this suite of documents in collaboration with people living with dementia, the Faculty’s Expert Reference Group and their colleagues from Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) and DEEP (The Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project). The active support of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Old Age Faculty and the Royal College of Nursing with this work has been invaluable.

Dementia has been a key media topic since the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge highlighted the need for the UK to become dementia aware. As a global concern, it was a topic at the recent G7 summit. Developing dementia could happen to a significant number of us. 


  • What would it mean to you if you had been worried about your memory for some time and no one would listen? 

  • Who would you like to see and what would you like to know?

  • How would you like people to given you information about how the diagnosis of dementia is made?

  • What support and information would you like to receive after you have assimilated the diagnosis?


  • How will you access interventions which will help you manage your memory problems?


Although the Prime Minister’s Challenge has encouraged earlier diagnosis, at the time there was little thought in some services about how that should be done and what should follow from it. Quotes from service users in these documents make it very clear that practice could improve:

“You go to the GP When you are ill or injured…you only bring up your memory as an afterthought”.

“We had no information given to us before testing. We just went and they asked us questions. They didn’t mention dementia”.

“They shouldn’t be focussed on what pills to give us. They should focus on feelings. They should ask: ‘how are you coping?’


Encouraging people to become dementia friends and to develop dementia friendly communities is a constructive approach.

The output of a 2 year work stream coordinated by the British Psychological Society’s Faculty of the Psychology of Older People, these documents emerged from a number of key meetings with stakeholder groups and extensive consultation with service users and carers. The Expert Reference Group comprised people from many professional disciplines, voluntary agencies, people living with dementia and their carers. Written by key experts in the field, including two eminent professors of old age psychology and clinical psychologists working in 5 NHS Trusts from across the UK, they bring together current research and extensive references on best practice in psychosocial care.

The papers highlight the importance of personalised pre-assessment counselling, skilful cognitive assessment, sympathetic communication of the diagnosis and appropriate post diagnostic support and access to relevant psychosocial interventions. These documents provide clear recommendations and guidance not only to clinical psychologists working in the field but to their colleagues in other disciplines and partnership agencies working with people living with dementia. 


  • By 2015 there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK.

  • There are 40,000 younger people with dementia in the UK.

  • There are 25,000 people with dementia from black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.

  • One in six people aged 80 and over have dementia.

  • There are 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK.

  • Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community while one third live in a care home.


  • Only 44% of people with dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive a diagnosis.


Up to one in four of all general hospital beds in the U.K. are occupied by a person over 65 years who has dementia (Alzheimer’s Society, 2009).


The more current research and best practice can be shared to reduce stigma and uncertainty the better our interventions can become. Unlike 50 years ago when a dementia diagnosis was seen as an end in itself, the Guide to Psychosocial Interventions in Dementia offers an A to Z of approaches which can be used in this area to enable people to live well with dementia.

This launch of these documents will be set in the context of the Faculty’s partnership with people living with dementia and some of the organisations with which they are involved.  Reinhard Guss, FPOP Dementia Work Stream lead who has coordinated this work will be joined by Rachael Litherland, Director, Innovations in Dementia, Agnes Houston, Member of Scottish Dementia Working Group and Vice Chair of European Dementia Working Group, and Simon Kitchen, Dementia Action Alliance Executive Lead, Alzheimer’s Society to discuss the contributions made to policy across the four nations by the Faculty on behalf of The British Psychological Society, in the last 2 years and will invite comments on plans for the way ahead.  The documents will be available at the launch. They can be downloaded from the BPS shop www.bps.org.uk or the FPOP website www.psige.org.uk


DCP Annual Conference

3rd-5th December 2014,

Radisson Blu Hotel,



FPOP Dementia Documents Launch

Main Hall


Friday 5th December