This NICE clinical guideline has been amended to incorporate the update to donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (NICE technology appraisal guidance 217), which published in May 2016. See update information for a full explanation of has been updated.

This guidance was produced in association with the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Social Care Institute for Excellence

Dementia is a progressive and largely irreversible clinical syndrome that is characterised by a widespread impairment of mental function. Although many people with dementia retain positive personality traits and personal attributes, as their condition progresses they can experience some or all of the following: memory loss, language impairment, disorientation, changes in personality, difficulties with activities of daily living, self‑neglect, psychiatric symptoms (for example, apathy, depression or psychosis) and out‑of‑character behaviour (for example, aggression, sleep disturbance or disinhibited sexual behaviour, although the latter is not typically the presenting feature of dementia).

Dementia is associated with complex needs and, especially in the later stages, high levels of dependency and morbidity. These care needs often challenge the skills and capacity of carers and services. As the condition progresses, people with dementia can present carers and social care staff with complex problems including aggressive behaviour, restlessness and wandering, eating problems, incontinence, delusions and hallucinations, and mobility difficulties that can lead to falls and fractures. The impact of dementia on an individual may be compounded by personal circumstances such as changes in financial status and accommodation, or bereavement.

This guideline makes specific recommendations on Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia and mixed dementias, as well as recommendations that apply to all types of dementia. Dementia in Parkinson's disease shares a number of similarities with DLB. Although the evidence base for dementia in Parkinson's disease was not examined specifically in the context of this guideline, the recommendations for DLB may be useful when considering treatments for dementia in Parkinson's disease.[1]

This guideline makes recommendations for the identification, treatment and care of people with dementia and the support of carers. Settings relevant to these processes include primary and secondary healthcare, and social care. Wherever possible and appropriate, agencies should work in an integrated way to maximise the benefit for people with dementia and their carers.

[1] For other recommendations regarding the physical treatments for Parkinson's disease see the NICE clinical guideline on Parkinson's disease.