More and more people are being diagnosed with dementia in the UK each year. There are now around 850,000 people with dementia and by 2025, that number is predicted to rise to 1 million. It’s not that we are, as a nation, more susceptible to dementia, but we have an ageing population and medical practitioners have become more aware of the indicators of dementia and so are much better at diagnosing it.
But even those among us who have experienced dementia in a friend or relative don’t understand a lot about the condition.
Dementia is actually a life-limiting disease
It’s not just about memory loss, or an inability to communicate effectively, although both of these are symptoms. And such symptoms can mask other, sometimes equally serious conditions. Conversely, sometimes dementia is only recognised in patients admitted for hospice care with other life-limiting conditions. Statistics show that around 60,000 deaths in the UK each year are directly attributable to dementia. So dementia patients can be referred to Dorothy House with complex palliative care issues in addition to issues associated solely with their dementia diagnosis.
The trouble is, because dementia is not always acknowledged as life-limiting, people with the condition are not always referred for hospice care or realise they can access it.
What we are doing to help?
Dorothy House has set up a working group to ensure our services meet the needs of people with dementia, and their families. Over the past few months the group has been sharing knowledge and experience with other hospices and local organisations with help from specialist local services. We are already implementing a comprehensive training and education programme for our staff and volunteers and a community awareness campaign.
If you would like any information about our services for people with dementia, please call our contact centre on 01225 721 385.