Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
In the UK, about 820,000 people have dementia (brain disorder). Nearly two-thirds of people never find out and for many that do, diagnosis takes a long time with the patient and family overcoming numerous obstacles. Although it is UK national policy in the Dementia Strategy that people are diagnosed early, and this has been accompanied by a nationwide information campaign, there has been little progress. Diagnostic barriers include people with memory problems being reluctant to see their general practitioner (GP), GPs not seeing there is a problem or referring for help, and patient and family concerns about stigma. We have designed a leaflet based on the CHOICE project which asked family carers what the problems were in making decisions for people with dementia and how they overcame them. The most common problem that carers struggled with was getting a diagnosis and help. The CHOICE leaflet for our study was developed from family carers of people with dementia’s answers. The aim of this study is to increase timely diagnosis of dementia. We intend to send a personal letter from the GP with the CHOICE leaflet explaining what to do to overcome barriers to getting help for memory problems to all people aged over 70 in the practice. We will find out whether this enables people with dementia to receive an earlier diagnosis.

Who can participate?
We are recruiting GP practices to the study. Our study will include all patients in the GP practices over the age of 70 years (unless already known to have dementia or living in a care home).

What does the study involve?
The GP practices will be randomly allocated to one of two groups. One group (intervention GP practices) will send the leaflet along with a letter from the GP to the patients and the other group provides usual care (control practices). The GP letter will go to every participant in the intervention group with an explanation about how memory problems which interfere with life become more common as people age. It will ask for people to consider the leaflet for themselves or members of their family. This will be sent to people who live alone as well as those living with others. We will test if this increases the number of people with undiagnosed dementia presenting with memory-related problems to their GP, the number of patients GPs refer appropriately to memory services, and if this referral is at an earlier stage. We will compare the brain function scores of those patients referred from the intervention GP practices to those from the control practices. If our method is successful we want to know whether the cost is low. We will calculate the cost for every extra person diagnosed and whether there are many people who are referred to memory services with no dementia (which would increase the cost).

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Our leaflet addresses how to overcome the common problems diagnosing people with dementia. Early diagnosis is useful because although there is no cure, many people with dementia and family carers feel relieved by knowing what the diagnosis is. The diagnosis leads to treatment and more support which reduces crises, can improve quality of life and delay care home admission. It also allows people to make choices about current and future care and other plans. It is also thought to save money for the state and for individual family carers.

Where is the study run from?
The study is run from University College London and the research will take place in UCL Partners partnership trusts where our team work clinically. This will include local GP surgeries and hospitals including mental health trusts within North London and surrounding counties.

When is study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study will start in mid-2013 and will run for 12 months. The GP practices will be enrolled in the study for a period of 12 months.

Who is funding the study?
The Alzheimer’s Society (UK)

Who is the main contact?
Prof. Gill Livingston

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Gill Livingston


Contact details

Division of Psychiatry
University College London
6th Floor
Maple House
149 Tottenham Court Road
United Kingdom



Additional contact

Dr Juanita Hoe


Contact details

Division of Psychiatry
University College London
6th Floor
Maple House
149 Tottenham Court Road
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number

177 (PG-2012-183)

Study information

Scientific title

Facilitating Early Diagnosis of Dementia (FED-D): a pragmatic, multi-site, cluster randomised controlled trial



Study hypothesis

Does sending a leaflet on how to overcome barriers to accessing help for dementia to people aged over 70 registered in a general practice, with an accompanying personal letter from the GP, lead to people with dementia presenting earlier to specialist dementia services compared with usual care over 12 months and if so, is it at low cost? We will test the hypotheses that, over 12 months people receiving the intervention will present earlier (mean of 3 points higher on MMSE score) than those not receiving it and that the costs of the intervention are small.

Ethics approval

NRES Committee London - Queen Square, 20/08/2013, ref: 13/LO/0996

Study design

Pragmatic multi-site cluster randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Cluster randomised trial

Trial setting

GP practices

Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheetDr Juanita HoeFED-D Research Project CoordinatorUCL Mental Health Sciences UnitUniversity College LondonCharles Bell House 67 – 73 Riding House Street London W1W 7EJ Email:




We intend to send a personal letter from the GP with the CHOICE leaflet explaining what to do to overcome barriers to getting help for memory problem to all people aged over 70 in the practice
Control: usual care

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

The primary outcome is the cognitive score as measured by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) of people referred to memory services in the intervention and control groups who receive a diagnosis of dementia. The minimum clinically important difference in MMSE score is three points and is the most widely used standard test of cognitive function. We will collate the baseline MMSE score from the new patients’ presenting to memory clinic (i.e. MMSE scores of new presentations) at 3, 6 and 12 months after sending the letters. We are not collecting follow-up MMSEs. There is a maximum score of 30, with scores of 0-10=severe, 11-20=moderate, and 21-24=mild dementia.

Added 05/01/2016:
As many memory services were using other cognitive measures than the MMSE, most commonly the 100 point Addenbrookes Cognitive Examination (ACE-R and ACE-III), it was agreed before we began the analysis to include patients without MMSE scores but with ACE scores. We used data on the latter to estimate the missing MMSE scores. We therefore converted the ACE scores so that ACE and MMSE were used as a single outcome score. The change to the primary outcome was agreed on 08/12/2014.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Number of people presenting with a possible diagnosis of dementia will be collected from GPs practices using MiQUEST (a Department of Health computer system allowing anonymised data extraction from GP practices). We will collect the number of people presenting to their GP who are and who are not referred on to memory services.
2. Numbers of patients referred to memory services from participating intervention and control practices
3. The number of memory services appointments offered and people attending for diagnostic assessment
4. The number of people referred who do not have dementia or mild cognitive impairment
5. Costs of implementing the intervention, including the costs associated with the CHOICE leaflet (printing, and distribution), GP visits to discuss possible diagnoses of dementia and use of memory services and the cost of assessing those with and without dementia
6. We will systematically ask clinicians about any inappropriate presentations and patient distress and record these as adverse events

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

We are recruiting GP practices to the study and our study will include all patients in the GP practices over the age of 70 years

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

We aim to recruit 22 GP practices, so there will be 11 GP practices in both the treatment and control groups. The required sample size of patients aged over 70 in each arm is 93

Participant exclusion criteria

The intervention will not be given to registered patients within included GP practices over the age of 70 years who have a diagnosis of dementia, live in a care home or have been referred to specialist memory services

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

UCL Mental Health Sciences Unit
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Camden Memory Service
The Peckwater Centre 6 Peckwater Street
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Waltham Forest Memory Service
Red Oak Lodge 17 Thorne Close Langthorne Road Leytonstone
E11 4HU
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Havering Memory Service
119—121 Suttons House
RM12 6RU
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Redbridge Memory Service
Grovelands Grove Road
Chadwell Heath
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Barking & Dagenham Memory Service
Broad Street Health Centre Morland Road
RM10 9HU
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Tower Hamlets Diagnostic Memory Clinic
The Robinson Centre Mile End Hospital 275 Bancroft Road Mile End
E1 4DG
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

City & Hackney Diagnostic Memory Clinic
Unit 1 30 Felstead Street Homerton
E9 5LG
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Newham Diagnostic Memory Clinic
Newham First Avenue Resource Centre 103 First Avenue Plaistow
E13 8AP
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Barnet Older Peoples CMHT
Level 3, Springwell Centre Barnet Hospital Wellhouse Lane
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Haringey Memory Service
Victoria Unit St Ann’s Hospital
N15 3TH
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

North Place Annex 82 Great North Road
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

EMDASS North West
Logandene Ashley Close Bennets End
Hemel Hempstead
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Glaxo Day Hospital Lister Hospital
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


University College London (UK)

Sponsor details

Gower Street
United Kingdom
+44 (0)203 447 9995

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Alzheimer's Society Project Grant: 177 (PG-2012-183) (UK)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

private sector organisation

Funding Body Subtype

Associations and societies (private and public)


United Kingdom

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

To be confirmed at a later date

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Available on request

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2017 results in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

16/03/2017: Publication reference added. 05/01/2015: The overall trial end date was changed from 31/05/2015 to 31/10/2015.