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Policy digest: Dementia

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Dementia has been a key focus of policy Dementia has been a key focus of policy

Dementia has been highlighted as one of the most pressing issues in healthcare by the government, and has been the focus of several initiatives by the DH. The government has pledged to increase rates of dementia diagnosis. A key aspect of the policy is ensuring two-thirds of the estimated 800,000 people with the condition receive a diagnosis and appropriate post-diagnostic support by March 2015. The DH also introduced an enhanced service for general

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I am an RGN and RHV with 30 years NHS experience. My mother who is 80 has mixed dementia. She lives in Surrey. It has been a harrowing story so far. She lives with her husband who is a very controlling man and abusive. I recently discovered that he had been giving her the sedative Zopiclone 7.5 mg for two years. It was prescribed for him by his gp. I referred to Social Services and Safeguarding actions followed. What has worried me greatly is the apparent patchiness of services for dementia patients and their carers. My mother is seen only twice a year by the local Memory Clinic. She was started on Aricept in August 2010. She has probably lacked Mental Capacity for several years but this was not formally assessed until there was a crisis following a fall at home which resulted in a hospital admission. I am so puzzled as to why the services are so patchy. Her husband was choosing to avoid specialist support services and "controlled " her sleep, healthcare needs himself . He is clearly not able to care for someone with dementia safely and yet at the time of diagnosis i am not aware of any assessment of carer's needs, suitability, training, awareness etc and i think it was " assumed " that he was capable and send home to get on with it . It has been an appalling case of abuse, in a relationship with a history of coercive control and abuse. She is extremely vulnerable and after a spell in emergencey respite she is now back at home in his care with a 15 minute carer calling in daily paid for by Social Services. I would be happy to write this story up for a journal at some point. The charity Action for Elder Abuse have been excellent but otherwise i have felt very alone and unsupported, at times even the social workers have appeared to have colluded with the husband. There must be other daughters/families who are in similar situations finding the local services from the Memory Clinics to be woefully inadequate. What campaigning is going on and how can i contribute to try and improve this sorry state of affairs ? Rebecca Rees
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