Dementia care: dispatches from the frontline
Dementia care is a UK government priority with an established place on medical school curriculums. After working as a hospital healthcare assistant and a carer in a residential home, however, I realise that doctors are removed from the reality of managing dementia on the front line.
It has always concerned me that those who, arguably, have the greatest impact on the wellbeing of patients with dementia have virtually no training. Society does not seem to appreciate that these patients can be extremely challenging to care for—physically and emotionally. People with dementia are often repetitive. They ask the same questions and perform the same tasks over and over, which can wear down the most tolerant person after a 12 hour shift. Dementia patients often behave like young children and our automatic response might be to treat them in the same way. However, they cannot “learn” that a particular behaviour is wrong,