Dementia is a term used to describe a set of symptoms that occur when there is damage to the brain caused by disease. These symptoms may include: memory loss, confused thoughts, loss of intellectual function, inability to orientate to time and location, increased anxiety and mood swings.
Dementia can occur at any age, children as young as four can have a disease that causes dementia, teenagers or young adults, middle aged people, can all experience dementia if they are ill with a disease that affects the brain’s normal function. However the elderly are particularly susceptible and we are seeing an increase in the elderly with dementia needing care.
Principles of high quality dementia care (NICE quality standard):
People with dementia receive care from staff appropriately trained in dementia care
People with suspected dementia are referred to a memory assessment service specialising in the diagnosis and initial management of dementia
People newly diagnosed with dementia and/ or their carers receive written and verbal information about their condition, treatment and the support options in their local area
People with dementia have an assessment and an on-going personalised care plan, agreed across health and social care that identifies a named care coordinator and addresses their individual needs
People with dementia, while they have capacity, have the opportunity to discuss and make decisions, together with their carer/s, about the use of: advance statements, advance decisions to refuse treatment, lasting power of attorney, preferred priorities of care
Carers of people with dementia are offered an assessment of emotional, psychological and social needs and, if accepted, receive tailored interventions identified by a care plan to address those needs
People with dementia who develop non-cognitive symptoms that cause them significant distress, or who develop behaviour that challenges, are offered an assessment at an early opportunity to establish generating and aggravating factors. Interventions to improve such behaviour or distress should be recorded in their care plan
People with suspected or known dementia using acute and general hospital inpatient services or emergency departments have access to a liaison service that specialises in the diagnosis and management of dementia and older people’s mental health
People in the later stages of dementia are assessed by primary care teams to identify and plan their palliative care needs
Carers of people with dementia have access to a comprehensive range of respite/short break services that meet the needs of both the carer and the person with dementia