DEMGAL is an online tool to facilitate the prescription of non-pharmacological treatment for dementia in Galicia, Spain. Persons living with dementia (pwD) and their caregivers need a strong network of supports and sustainable care based on non-pharmacological interventions including cognitive stimulation, physical exercise, occupational therapy, respite services, etc. The inclusion of these strategies into patients’ care is known as a non-pharmacological treatment prescription and stands out as an essential part of care in International and National Guidelines.
Galicia (Spain) is one of the fastest aging regions of Europe (25.2% of its population were older than 65 years in 2019). Whilst most Galician people living with dementia have access to state-of-the-art diagnostics, post-diagnostic supports are often unavailable due to scarcity of services, geographical limitations, and lack of information. The latter can be addressed by online tools, which have proven to be successful and cost-effective in other countries such as Scotland. As a contribution to the Galician Strategy for Dementia this pilot project aims to build a web-based resource (DEMGAL) to help improve the scenario for non-pharmacological treatments for dementia in Galicia. DEMGAL will collaborate with all regional stakeholders in Galicia that take part in the health and social care of pwD.
This project pilots an innovative strategy to integrate non-pharmacological treatments into the routine clinical practice of health providers as a prescription, at the same level as pharmacological treatment. The tool will give doctors an easy way to provide a clear dementia care pathway after diagnosis, without increasing their workload. Patients will find an updated list of local services, as well as trustworthy and culturally appropriate training and educational materials covering different aspects of care and long-term planning. DEMGAL intends to increase the rate of prescription of non-pharmacological treatment in Galicia, raise the quality and quantity of information provided by health professionals, and enhance the implementation of non-pharmacological treatments and caregiver support systems. The program will be evaluated using questionnaires and tracking of users. The implementation of DEMGAL in Galicia may serve as a good testing ground for a tailored online approach as the region has one of the fastest aging populations in Spain and Europe.