For people receiving a diagnosis of dementia, it can be a very difficult time. For the treating health professional, navigating conversations with people and their families to help them come to terms with the diagnosis can also be challenging. There are usually many questions to answer and important issues to work through.
As health professionals are well aware, people with dementia can be at risk of problems relating to medicines, especially if they take multiple medicines for other conditions. Memory and communication problems may make it difficult to remember what to take and when. As dementia progresses, changes in a person’s behaviour are often a result of unmet needs relating to their health, their environment, or difficulty verbalising pain.
Alzheimer’s Australia and NPS MedicineWise have launched a new campaign to support people living with a diagnosis of dementia — and their carers — by providing them with information to help navigate their medicine and non-medicine choices. These can also be used by health professionals to support conversations about a diagnosis or ongoing management of dementia.
Resources include an information booklet — Medicines and dementia: a resource for people with dementia and their carers — covering issues like consent, appropriate use of medicines, and non-drug therapies, including psychosocial approaches to managing distress.
There are also downloadable fact sheets on expressions of distress, tips for good medicines management, and conditions that commonly occur alongside dementia that are particularly helpful for people who have been newly diagnosed.
For more information, and to download the new resources, visit http://www.nps.org.au/dementia.
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