An estimated 90,000 people have dementia in Scotland in 2017. Around 3,200 of these people are under the age of 65. As our population ages, the number of people with dementia will increase; we expect the number to double over the next 25 years.

Focus on Dementia is a national improvement portfolio established by the Scottish Government and based within the ihub of Healthcare Improvement Scotland. We work in partnership with national organisations, health and social care partnerships, people with dementia, and carers to reduce variation and improve quality of care. Taking a whole pathway approach, our work supports:

  1. improvements in diagnosis and post-diagnostic support
  2. integrated care co-ordination in the community
  3. specialist dementia units, and
  4. acute care and advanced care.

All of this work is supporting the implementation of Scotland’s dementia strategies and informing future policy and practice.

Focus on Dementia Heat Map

Please view an overview below of the areas the Focus on Dementia Portfolio is currently engaging with.

Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy 2017-2020

View the Dementia Strategy (PDF) launched on 28 June 2017.

Improving outcomes for people with dementia, carers and staff in 2019

Strong partnership working with Scottish Government, Alzheimer Scotland, health and social care partnerships and national organisations including NHS Education for Scotland, SSSC, Scottish Care and Care Inspectorate are invaluable in the design and delivery of our work.   

We look forward to continuing to work together to improve the experience and outcomes for people with dementia and carers through supporting the implementation Scotland’s third dementia strategy.  

In the year ahead we will continue to work in partnership with other national organisations and with people with dementia and cares to continue to achieve the following:

By March 2019

  • specialist dementia unit demonstrator sites are continually improving to support improved outcomes for people with dementia and carers, 
  • staff will be using the Quality Improvement Framework as a self-assessment tool to support improved quality of post diagnostic support,  
  • teams will have tested the ICHOM dataset in order to understand the impact of post diagnostic support on quality of life of carers and cognition of people with dementia, and
  • staff will have increased access to information on good practice in dementia care.

By September 2019 

  • staff will have improved knowledge, understanding and confidence in supporting people with dementia and carers, 
  • people with dementia will have access to post diagnostic support from a primary care setting (within our test site areas), and 
  • people with dementia and carers will report experiencing high quality post diagnostic support from a primary care setting.

My life, my care home 

In order to understand the extent to which the Standards of Care for Dementia are having an impact, The Care Inspectorate undertook a study in 145 care homes for older people from June 2016 to March 2017. 


Let's talk about dementia 

This blog aims to share the work and practice of the allied health professionals in relation to dementia care. 


Excellence in Care 

Excellence in Care, which forms part of the government's response to the Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry Report (2014), focuses on four key deliverables. It covers nursing and midwifery in all hospitals and community services, from A&E to mental health, and care of older people to children's services.


Virtual hospital - Stirling University apps

If you are looking at environmental changes in your Specialist Dementia Unit here is a link to 'Virtual Hospital' Stirling University page. Although designed for acute and care home settings they are also useful for Specialist Dementia Units.


Free dementia resources

NHS Health Scotland in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland have published a range of free resources to support people with dementia, their carers and people working in the field. These books and DVDs are accessible on the Health Scotland website. 


The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 is designed to support carers’ health and wellbeing and help make caring more sustainable. Read more about the Carer's Charter here. 


Let’s celebrate! DSILS and Dementia Champions

On Wednesday 14 March 2018 the National Conference and Graduation for Cohort 8 Dementia Champions and Cohort 2 Dementia Specialist Improvement Leads took place at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh.


Connecting People, Connecting Support

Connecting People, Connecting Support is about how allied health professionals in Scotland can support people with dementia, their families and carers to live positive, fulfilling and independent lives for as long as possible.


Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE)

If you are interested in supporting Dementia Friendly Design, The Kings Fund EHE assessment tools can be found here.


They contain seven overarching criteria and a set of questions to prompt discussions between clinical/care staff, managers, estates and maintenance colleagues, people with dementia, their families and carers.

The tools are being used to:

  • Assess progress in developing more dementia-friendly environments
  • Secure finance to improve the physical environment of care
  • Influence managers and estates/maintenance colleagues to support change
  • Educate staff and help change attitudes
  • Improve signage, flooring, lighting and colour schemes as part of maintenance programmes
  • Make small-scale improvements eg, purchasing coloured crockery


Dementia Videos

What does resilience mean to you?


Michelle Miller  - National Improvement Lead


Dementia Friendly Prestwick


National Event


Irene Oldfather - About the programme


Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland