Last week I attended a lecture, as part of interprofessional learning, about communication and distressed behaviours in dementia. To be honest I have not had first hand experience of caring for somebody with dementia, but I wanted to be prepared for helping patients I am treating. Obviously from the perspective of a radiographer there are issues of consent with a patient who has dementia and also getting them to stay still for the procedure or treatment. Thankfully this lecture was very informative and I now feel more able to help a patient with dementia. Taking time to understand this illness has helped me enormously and I really hope that a similar lecture is available for health students nationwide. As the future NHS workforce we should be better informed, even if we are not directly involved in the day to day care of a patient with dementia. Also in the future I will be checking if patients with dementia have a 'This is Me' book with them, to ensure I can find ways to make the treatment less distressing.
Perhaps you are reading this and thinking I am not a health professional, but I want to know more. Maybe you have a family member or friend recently diagnosed. Whilst there is a wealth of information available on the internet, provided by the various charities, I wanted to point you in the direction of a new initiative from the Alzheimers Society. Dementia Friends offer you the chance to find out more about the illness and how to help people with dementia. Lets all help make this an understood illness to make life less distressing for those diagnosed.
Until next time, take care.