Listening to the radio this morning and a spokes person for the Alzheimer’s Society talking about their new campaign ‘’Fix Dementia Care’’ I was reminded of the experience of my family when dealing with the frequent hospitalisation of my, now late, great grandmother who lived with dementia for the last 20 of her 102 ½ years.
Research and the compilation of the results of freedom of information requests by the society have built up a disturbing picture of the care received by many dementia suffers whilst in hospital. The over-stretched NHS is it seems not well equipped to deal with the additional needs of patients with dementia. Leading to an often negative experience for these patients and their families.
My own experience several years ago now was that since my great grandmother could not speak for herself (her dementia was advanced by this point) we as a family tried to act as advocates for her to get the best care. Unfortunately we often found that despite being her nearest relatives (and my mother being a specialist elderly care nurse herself) we were excluded from decisions about her care and therefore unable to protect our elderly, scared and vulnerable matriarch.
This morning, listening to the radio, my thought turned again to the importance of having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place so that a nominated person is authorised to make health and welfare decisions on behalf of the patient, giving relatives (or other people nominated) an official place in the decision making process and giving the patient a better chance of a more positive experience. Now all I need to do is find the time to sit down and discuss this with my remaining grand mother so that she is prepared and protected should the worst happen.