In general, deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) are falling, except for the forgotten CVD, dementia. The rate of dementia is rising year on year and it is now one of the top 5 causes of death in the UK. Risk factors for dementia are similar to other CVDs and risk modification can reduce the risk of development of the condition.
What if you do not understand why you are in a strange room, what the word ‘surgery’ means on the door, and you have forgotten that it means you are there for a checkup? What if your GP or practice nurse wants to examine you, but you cannot remember the words to explain that you are confused and frightened? This can be the reality for people with dementia, and women are more likely than men to experience its impact, either as patients themselves or as family carers.
The NHS Health Check is changing again. Since the beginning of April 2013, practice nurses have been expected to raise the issue of dementia when seeing patients aged 65-74. But why (I can hear you ask)? Surely we have enough to do! This article explains why dementia matters, and sets out your role in the NHS Health Check.
Dementia is a term used to describe a syndrome that can be caused by several illnesses, but the result is a decline in a person’s abilities to function socially, mentally and in relation to the everyday activities of living. The condition is having an increasing impact on individuals, families and care services as the UK population ages. However, practice nurses can help make the experience of living with dementia more positive for the patient and their families or carers.
Taking steps to improve care of patients with dementia – Zoë Elkins, Penny Garner
Dementia is common. This article describes specific ways to improve communication these patients, including the SPECAL photograph album and observational tracking.