Mild cognitive impairment 2023: Small change, big impact

16 Mar 2023

We're preparing to launch our third mild cognitive impairment course (MCI) this May!

Our virtual, on-demand course is designed to equip people across the UK with an evidence-based understanding of how to maximise and preserve brain health, knowledge of diseases which affect cognition and thinking, and ways to improve diagnosis, support and information for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Up to 40% of dementia is preventable through lifestyle changes (Livingston 2020), and there's a real need for health, social care and other supportive professionals working with patients and the public to understand the evidence, and educate others around this.

We feel all education should be transformational at a professional level. We want to encourage everyone on the MCI course to take away something that impacts their local services or personal practice - and throughout the course provide small ideas and real life examples of projects to transform people's experiences and outcomes.

80% of respondents said the course would definitely positively influence their personal practice or local service provision.

We know that your work environments are under a great deal of pressure and that time and resources are scarce. We also know that improving patient outcomes can help alleviate some of that pressure.

As part of this course, we want you to commit to making one small change.

A small change can have a big impact on an individual's life.

'Until now as a geriatrician I wouldn't particularly be interested in doing anything about MCI. After attending this course I give more attention to addressing the risk factors and promoting brain health in patients where I uncover unrecognised MCI.'

Register now for this year's course, launching in May, or read some simple ideas to transform services that have come out of the past two courses - and get inspired to make some small improvements in MCI now that can have a big impact on those affected.

A small change, a big impact

  • Promote hearing and vision tests in your clinic / surgery or encourage anyone experiencing cognitive impairment to have these standard tests

  • Encourage patients with MCI or subjective memory decline to do a 'Brain health check in' - which will give them tailored information on brain health and lifestyle

  • Share brain health information with anyone in mid-life experiencing cardiovascular problems

  • Provide brain health information to women from peri-menopause onwards

  • Include checking anticholinergic burden in annual medicine reviews - have the ACB calculator link on your desktop

  • Have red flags in your mind around indicators of REM sleep behaviour disorder - perhaps do follow up testing for Lewy body dementia

  • Have the DIAMOND Lewy toolkit link handy or print off the main overview management sheet

Previous projects to learn from or get inspired by

2022 Quality improvement projects

  • Developing a brain health clinic

  • Creating clear and accessible information for non-English speaking patients entering the memory clinic

  • Reviewing anticholinergic burden amongst existing patients in care of the elderly

  • Public and patient involvement to increase research participation / opportunities amongst people with MCI

  • Considering the interrelationship between depression and MCI amongst existing patients

Small-scale service changes

  • Establishing an MCI support group in our memory service

  • Disseminating the resource 'tips for good communication' amongst ward staff for small-scale education

  • Beginning use of the Diamond lewy toolkit

  • Addition of a sleep question to standard clinics to screen for REM sleep behaviour disorder

  • Reviewing use of the mini ACE where people report subjective memory impairment but score highly

  • Presenting the concept of an MCI clinic to the local Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA)

  • Establishing working relationship with old age psychiatry team to review anticholinergic burden of those with cognitive problems

  • Establishing local pathways with GP and old age psychiatry team for anyone identified as experiencing MCI

Changes to personal practice:

  • Learning about REM sleep behaviour disorder and Lewy body dementia prompted a physician to follow up on a recent patients' memory assessments

  • Focusing on hearing and vision interventions to modify risk of developing dementia

  • Addressing healthy behaviours and lifestyle modifications with patients

  • Getting a more thorough history from patients presenting with MCI

  • Reviewing anticholinergic burden of patients presenting with cognitive problems

  • Signposting anyone with subjective memory decline towards brain health information and lifestyle resources

  • Increased awareness of brain health and early cognitive impairment

2021 Projects to learn from or get inspired by

Read our 2021 report summarising some of the project work resulting from our first MCI course, Education with impact – Quality improvement in mild cognitive impairment (MCI): Stories from across the UK and Ireland

Promoting prevention, supporting management

Led by proactive clinicians determined to see improvement in the way we prevent, diagnose and manage dementias, Dementia Academy supports healthcare professionals with the latest tools, resources and courses to do just that.