“Confusion Still Reigns”

My very first post on this blog was about dementia – in February 2010 I wrote”Lest We Forget” which spoke about the vast scale of this disease both worldwide and in the UK. The comments related to a report published by Oxford University which highlighted the fact that two thirds of the suffers in Britain, 400,000 people were left untreated by the NHS.

For this and all my other posts on dementia ‘click’ on “dementia” in the Topics list.

Well it appears we did forget, because the Department of Health has just completed another survey which tells us the same thing !   They seemed surprised to find that only a third of adults aged over fourty understood the signs of dementia. What they did confirm was that only 250,000 patients are registered with a diagnosis of dementia by GP’s, even though there are thought to be 634,000 suffers in the UK.  This is hardly news, but perhaps it is a sign that the  DOH is accepting that the situation cannot be hidden away and ignored for much longer.

    What are the issues behind this ?  :-

  • Firstly, there is still no clear test to diagnose dementia .
  • Secondly, until relatively recently GP’s were denied access to drugs to treat early stage dementia by the N.I.C.E. guidelines .
  • Thirdly,  a confirmed diagnosis leaves most suffers and their carers with no community support and only the prospect of living out their life in poor quality residental care .
  • Finally, faced with the above, it is no wonder that suffers and their carers do not seek early treatment, and it is quite understandable that GP’s do not rush to pass on bad news about such a daunting future.

A £2 million television advertising campaign is about to be launched to raise awareness of the early signs of dementia.  This is good news but it needs to be accompanied by more action by the DOH :-

  • To improve the standards of Residential Care by increasing staff training and increase fee levels .
  • To encourage more innovative forms of support for the majority suffers and their carers who still live in the community.

The never-miss-an-opportunity-for-a-headline, or to state the obvious, —- Care Services Minister — Paul Burstow,  said   “Being diagnosed with dementia won’t make the  condition worse but leaving it untreated will. We can’t cure dementia, but we can keep the person we love for longer”

                          Yes Mr Burstow, but what future are you holding out for them  ?

                                   Action not words,  Mr. Burstow.

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8 Responses to “Confusion Still Reigns”

  1. Maureen o'Neill says:

    — Paul Burstow, said “Being diagnosed with dementia won’t make the condition worse but leaving it untreated will. We can’t cure dementia, but we can keep the person we love for longer”

    Yes Mr Burstow, but what future are you holding out for them ?

    Action not words, Mr. Burstow.

    Come on John, you are not being fair. Mr Burstow cannot , as he says,cure dementia and at the moment there is no bright future for dementia sufferers but what action are you expecting Mr. Burstow to take?

    It sems to me that care workers need much higher pay and MUCH more training in dementia care.. I know little about it and the little I know comes from meeting people with dementia. I, like many others, hope it does not happen to me but if it does I know the future is not good but I don’t know what action Mr. Burstow could be expected to take. I just hope I will still be loved or that I can still love who ever has dementia.

    What would you like to see happen ,John?

    • john graham says:

      Much of my thinking is set out in my earlier blog entitled “New Vision of Later Life” -3-Enriched Dementia Support. You can find it in the Tag Cloud dated 13th July 2011.
      I accept it will cost more, and for that the Government needs to move forward with the recommendations of the Dillnot Commission.

  2. Dear John,
    I hope you don’t mind me contacting you this way, but your email address I have (bt.connect) does not appear to be working any longer.
    I provided you with a copy of our first book 9 months ago and I strongly suspect (regrettably – but understandably) that it would have made you grumble.
    We have since completely revised our book and I would like to send you a new copy in the post.
    My email address is chris@actionforageing.com
    Having followed your blogs since April – I am very hopeful that our new book will make you smile 🙂
    Best regards,
    Chris Minett

  3. Interesting the comments on this blogg! Maureen comments about money: That is another question?
    What I feel one needs is the interaction with and for people. Care is about human relationships not monetry reward. The NHS could and should do more to study the early onset of dementia, and the use of smart drugs not to cosh the patient/client, but to help them with a ‘better’ way of living with the hell and fright that is often associated with the onset of dementia. Once there the person I suspect lives in a land of cuckoo’s and honey: That is when the care and human relationships need to kick in, together with any low dose of smart drugs and regular observations by a pschiatric team of doctors and nurses.
    It may be achieved in an enviroment of a residential home-where 24 hour attendance of care is possible, and not a nursing home!!.
    It is difficult and disruptive in a family home, unless these services can be provided for a loved one 24/7 and 354 days a year. One does need a vast amount of help both as the suffer and as the close family!! This Maureen is where the cost comes in at a very personal level, and I feel this is where the NHS and the Care Home Industry with finanicial help from the government of the day can Hep???
    As for Chris I note you wish to sell abook: How about a few pearls of wisdom to whett ones appitite with a possible view to your book being purchased?

    • Hi, I’m very sorry, I certainly would never intend to or wish to be seen to use a blog on anyone’s site for publicity, as that is extremely inappropriate. So David I am afraid I will refrain from answering your request and hope that John will forgive my mistake in trying to contact him via this method. My intention was only to contact John because I had not been successful by email. Sorry all, 🙂 Chris

  4. Hello Chris I meant no harm, John has a broad mnid and sends out some very searching questions. I noted your blogg and I sincerely apoloise if I have upset you. I am nosey and as you approached this site in your own name, I appriciate you did not want to appear aynonomous but genuie to John and his readers.
    But do tell me when we have prened our feathers and got back into are ownskins? You must have some antidotes to share with us, even if it is a ISBN Number. Please continue to read and comment, I did not mean to upset you,

  5. Hi David, no worries and certainly no offence or harm. It is me who is apologising 🙂
    I shall await word from John if that’s okay. I fear in my enthusiasm (as always) I seem to create more of a muddle than is intended. Best regards in the meantime :), Chris

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