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Home » Group of UK’s dementia leaders join “The Geller Commission” to review dementia-related hospital occupancy

Group of UK’s dementia leaders join “The Geller Commission” to review dementia-related hospital occupancy

  • Major shift needed in the way we structure hospital care for those living with dementia, moving away from avoidable admission towards timely, effective treatments and opportunities.
  • Open letter calling for evidence from the public signed by leaders of Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK, the UK Dementia Research Institute, World Dementia Council and The Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory at the University of West London.
  • Commission calls for public evidence to support their review into improving and extending the lives of those living with dementia.

[London, 7th December 2023] A group of the UK’s leading dementia organisations have announced that they are supporting a new Commission to conduct an independent review of dementia related hospital occupancy in England, launching an appeal to the health sector and the public to provide testimony to support the review.

The Geller Commission, chaired by Laurence Geller CBE, brings together a coalition of organisations including Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK, UK Dementia Research Institute, World Dementia Council, and the Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory at the University of West London. The Commission is supported by experts including economist Julian Jessop and neurologist Professor Peter Garrard.

The Commission will review avoidable hospital admissions and occupancies, which cost both our elderly and the country. Economist Julian Jessop, a member of The Commission, has found that dementia will cost the UK economy over £50bn a year by 2025 or £1billion a week[1].

In an open letter published today, the Commission’s members underscored the importance of needing a change in the approach to hospital care for those living with dementia and invited nationwide input to its public consultation.

The Commission’s cross-sector review has one clear goal to provide practical recommendations to improve clinical pathways for those living with dementia. These will be drawn from public evidence, which can be submitted via The Geller Commission website.

The review will consider how the sector can harness the UK’s world-class research, technological innovations and clinical excellence to reduce hospital admissions for those living with dementia, improve the quality of clinical care and relieve financial pressure on the health service. 

Yesterday, speaking to a range of interested parties from parliamentarians to lead nurses at its consultation launch event, the Commission’s members encouraged everyone with lived experience and expertise to participate.

Speaking on The Commission’s launch, Chairman Laurence Geller CBE stated:

“We know that too often, when people living with dementia are hospitalised, the care that they receive is not always appropriate for their condition, and their time in hospital can increase the velocity of the disease. It is my hope that by convening this Commission, we can find practical solutions to improve the lives of people living with the impact of a dementia diagnosis and reduce undue pressure on the health service.”

Kate Lee, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Over 900,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia, and the condition is the UK’s biggest killer.

“Quality care can be a lifeline for people living with dementia, who are the biggest users of social care. However, they are too often faced with a system that is costly, difficult to access, and not personalised to meet their needs.

“High-quality care is vital to keep people safe and reduce the chance of hospitalisation due to avoidable falls or infections.

“Dementia is the biggest health and social care challenge of our time, and with an ageing population and prevalence on the rise the time for reform is now.

“A whole-system problem needs a whole-system solution – that is why we hope that this joint enterprise will gather the evidence needed to make real change for people living with dementia, and their families.”

Dr Hilda Hayo, CEO of Dementia UK and Chief Admiral Nurse, said “Dementia is a huge and growing health crisis, and rapid improvements to post-diagnostic care are urgently required to support families and individuals affected by the condition. I’m pleased to join The Geller Commission, and hope that the combined efforts of the organisations involved along with the evidence that we hope to gather from families living with the reality of a dementia diagnosis every day, can help deliver real improvements in clinical care and outcomes for people living with dementia and their families.”

Professor Anthony Woodman, Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of West London, said “We are pleased to play our part in the critical work of this Commission. The Geller Institute of Aging and Memory (GIAM) will analyse the findings drawn from the public evidence. This is an opportunity to hear about what matters to people living with dementia from a variety of sources – importantly from people living with dementia themselves, and their care partners, families, friends, and healthcare practitioners  – ensuring that those voices are heard and are at the forefront of any future recommendations and strategies to improve clinical pathways for those living with dementia.’