Patients with young-onset dementia in an older people’s mental health service.


AIMS AND METHOD: Currently, no separate service exists for patients with young-onset dementia in Cambridgeshire. These patients are managed together with late-onset dementia patients within old age psychiatry services. To inform service design, we sought to characterise young-onset dementia patients in our population. We first analysed service-level data and supplemented this with a detailed case review of 90 patients. RESULTS: Young-onset dementia remains a relatively rare condition. Only a small proportion of those referred for assessment receive a diagnosis of dementia. Data collected on presenting complaints, comorbidities, medication and Health of the Nation Outcome Scales scores associated young-onset dementia with a greater incidence of depression than late-onset dementia. Outcomes in the two groups did not appear to differ. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The data presented here do not suggest a need to create a separate service. Practitioners should be aware of the increased incidence of depression observed in this group.