Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Dementia Treatment Advances with Positive Evaluation of ZonMw Memorabel Programme

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Dementia research under the Nederlandse organisatie voor gezondheidsonderzoek en zorginnovatie (ZonMw) Memorabel program, part of the Deltaplan Dementia, has been positively assessed by the HHM agency, leading to recommendations that will be included in the current Dementia Research Programme. The evaluation focused on the Memorabel program’s impact and effectiveness, highlighting its role in advancing dementia research and raising social awareness.

Most projects within the Memorabel program have been completed, prompting an evaluation by the HHM agency through desk research and focus groups. The findings show that the program has been instrumental in driving dementia research and increasing social awareness, with positive feedback on the functioning of the program committee and the ZonMw program office. ZonMw particularly values the appreciation for the contribution of experts by experience.

Dementia Care and Research Enhanced by Memorabel Program’s Groundbreaking Initiatives

The Memorabel program aimed to collect and utilize knowledge to (1) reduce the growth in the number of dementia patients, (2) improve the quality of life for people with dementia, and (3) enhance the care and support provided to them. This was achieved through two main areas of focus: research and development for future patients and improving care for current patients. Groundbreaking research was conducted to better understand and prevent dementia, find diagnostic and treatment targets, and develop effective tools, interventions, care models, and innovations to improve the quality of life and care for people with dementia and their caregivers.

Given the ongoing need for more research into dementia, a follow-up program was initiated on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport. Since 2021, ZonMw has been implementing the 10-year Dementia Research Program (OPD), part of the National Dementia Strategy. The HHM research provided several key recommendations, which have been integrated into the current Dementia Research Programme.

Collaboration Between Projects Recommendation: Focus on thematic bundling of research questions and projects. The Dementia Research Programme (OPD) finances research consortia bundled into themes such as fundamental research, risk reduction (lifestyle and living with dementia), diagnostics and prognostics, and young people with dementia. This thematic bundling strengthens the knowledge infrastructure built by Memorabel. The DEMPACT consortium, which focuses on integration in education, research, and care, supports other consortia in disseminating research knowledge and products among professionals, people with dementia, and their loved ones. This collaboration ensures that knowledge is quickly applied in healthcare practice, benefiting people with dementia and their caregivers.

Dementia

Dementia Research Enhanced by Experts’ Contributions in Memorabel Program

Contribution from Experts by Experience Recommendation: Continue to focus on the input of experts by experience. In the Memorabel program, experts by experience worked in various roles, from advisors to full-fledged project members. Their input was crucial in making program choices and refining project proposals. The evaluation highlighted the importance of involving experts by experience, noting the need to use their knowledge without overburdening them. A broader interpretation of users, including attention to the entire system surrounding people with dementia, is recommended. ZonMw will strengthen and expand the use of experts by experience within OPD.

Implementation and Dissemination Recommendation: Continue to focus on implementation and dissemination. The evaluation suggested several ways for ZonMw to strengthen project implementation, including making VIMP subsidies more applicable to fundamental projects. In the autumn of 2023, the Impact Explorer Dementia subsidy call was open, allowing for the exploration and utilization of curiosity-driven research. Research consortia have written impact plans to be implemented with the DEMPACT consortium, ensuring sustainable investment in knowledge development and practical application. ZonMw is also advised to strengthen collaboration with lectorates, practorates, and knowledge institutions, with a subsidy call for HBO fellowships and potential subsidy rounds for practorates.

Strategic Communications Agenda Recommendation: Develop a strategic communications agenda. ZonMw is working on a communication strategy for the Dementia Research Programme, focusing on stimulating collaboration and knowledge exchange, disseminating interim results, and facilitating dialogue. This strategy aims to advance knowledge and innovation in dementia, from fundamental research to care innovations, and from international to regional developments. As a neutral party, ZonMw provides a platform for different perspectives on dementia, enriching the target group with experiential, medical, and social insights. Stakeholders will be kept informed through the Dementia website page, LinkedIn page Elderly, and newsletter Elderly.

Interim Evaluation Recommendation: Provide more structure for interim learning and evaluation. The Dementia Research Program is a 10-year initiative, with interim evaluations allowing for flexibility and adjustments based on current developments. This structure ensures that the program remains responsive to emerging needs and opportunities in dementia research and care.

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In summary, the positive evaluation of the ZonMw Memorabel program highlights its significant contributions to dementia research and care. The recommendations from the HHM research have been integrated into the ongoing Dementia Research Programme, ensuring continued progress and innovation in the fight against dementia.

 

Resource: Nederlandse organisatie voor gezondheidsonderzoek en zorginnovatie, July 2, 2024

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