Dementia seminar looks at challenges

CARERS In Hucknall group chairman Jim Radburn has spoken of the long battle he faced to get information about the medical condition of his late wife, Tina.

He told a seminar at Highbury Hospital, Bulwell: “Tina was being treated for depression and it took 18 months before someone confirmed to me that she was suffering from dementia as well.

“A successful strategy was launched in March 2008 to adopt a more open approach with regard to dementia. Sadly, Tina died in the same month.”

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The seminar was organised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Mental Health Services for Older People.

Keynote speaker was Sandra Crawford, associate director of nursing with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

She said the aim of the seminar was to explore the challenges involved when dementia and depression co-exist. The message from the event was that partnership working is vital, including full recognition of the key role played by carers.

A leaflet is to be distributed to GP practices and health services in Nottinghamshire, offering basic information about dementia and depression, along with contacts which can provide help and advice.

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Dementia describes a set of symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, while someone with depression may feel sad or tired and avoid social activities despite loneliness.

Statistics show that up to 30% of people with dementia may also have depression, while up to 40% of carers may have some level of depression.

One delegate stressed the importance of following recommendations of the Francis Report. This is aimed at preventing a repeat of what happened at a Staffordshire hospital where up to 1,200 patients died due to a lack of care.