Global Health Asia-Pacific Best Hospitals Awards 2021 - Page 44



Farrer Park Hospital recognises the growing need to build a dementia-friendly medical ecosystem , and the expansion of services and collaboration seeks to address this .
Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease that occurs due to abnormal brain change ; especially as we age . Patients with dementia often suffer memory loss and lose their cognitive functions , impacting their daily lives . In 2018 , the Agency for Integrated Care estimated that 82,000 people lived with dementia . The number is expected to increase to 152,000 by 2030 as the population ages .
Although age is a known risk factor for dementia , it is not an inevitable consequence of biological ageing . In the case of ‘ young onset ’, the symptoms usually develop before 65 years of age . In fact , some dementia cases may be prevented or delayed . It thus helps to understand what ’ s normal and what ’ s not when it comes to brain health .
Artificial intelligence ( AI ) -supported MRI screening tool for dementia The current approach used to diagnose dementia involves combining the data from several components , including medical examination , memory assessment , mental ability tests , laboratory results , and brain scans .
MRI brain scan is the most common tool used to detect dementia . However its function in detecting dementia is limiting , often resulting in just diagnosing strokes and brain tumours . FPH has introduced an AI-supported MRI volumetry screening tool to quantify brain tissue volume to provide patients with more succinct results .
The enhanced neuroimaging services started in September this year . People
suspected of dementia or memory loss symptoms who have recently performed an MRI scan within a year may consider undergoing the brain tissue volume quantification without the full MRI brain scan . The additional information obtained can be helpful in their clinical follow-up and assessment because the readings and data collected from the volumetric scan allow the patient and their caregivers to make significant lifestyle changes to slow the brain degeneration process .
Envisioned a shared care model in a private healthcare setting The needs of persons living with dementia are confronted by other chronic medical or behavorial conditions . An optimal dementia care model will likely involve multidisciplinary health service providers , including the specialist panel of neuroradiologists , psychiatrists , neurologists , and geriatricians with primary care providers such as general practitioners ( GPs ) into the framework .
“ Dementia affects patients in more ways than we think . Often , the diagnosis remains elusive in the early stages . Thus , enhancing the tools that we have brings us a step closer to making the right diagnosis . With an earlier diagnosis , one can institute earlier treatment , interventions and also plan for the future . It will also help caregivers understand their patients better , thus improving the caregiver-patient relationship and reducing caregiver burnout ,” said Dr Peng Chung Mien , Chief Executive Officer , FPH .
GPs are often the first touchpoint of a patient ’ s healthcare journey . The enhanced dementia services by the hospital would equip affiliated GPs with relevant resources such as enhanced clinical diagnostic tools and specialists ’ support , allowing them to better assess patients ’ cognitive health .
If a specialist ’ s intervention is required , they have a referral pathway to the hospital ’ s panel of specialists in the framework . Once stabilised , the patients are subsequently discharged to their family physician for ongoing care management . Thus , the model aims to allow the person with dementia and their caregivers to receive end-to-end care throughout their journey with the disease .
42 NOVEMBER 2021 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com