Challen, Low & McEntee, the authors of September’s paper “Dementia patient care in the diagnostic medical imaging department” argue that diagnostic MRS practitioners are grossly underprepared to work with people with dementia. What do we need to know to care for this patient population and what constitutes current best practice?
The authors define dementia as:
A syndrome, broadly characterised by ongoing neurodegeneration causing cognitive decline. Its symptoms include, but are not limited to, memory loss and deterioration in executive functions such as planning and organising skills sufficient enough to disrupt daily living. People with dementia decline from having mild cognitive symptoms which interfere with more complex daily tasks (e.g. paying bills) to severe cognitive disabilities such that they can no longer self-care.
1. How do you think our working practices, environments and attitudes might make the imaging or radiotherapy experience difficult and distressing for people with dementia?
2. What strategies and process changes can improve care of people with dementia undergoing imaging or radiotherapy procedures?
3. The paper talks about the concept of “personhood” and applying “personhood principles” to make the imaging [or radiotherapy] experience safe and more positive. What does this mean to you?
4. Have you ever undergone any training or education in caring for people with dementia? Tell us more & share any recommendations…
Please also read our September blog “A Personal View of Dementia Care in Radiography” by Professor Mark McEntee.
An additional useful reading is the Society and College of Radiographer’s guidelines: SCoR: Caring for People with Dementia: A Clinical Practice Guideline for the Radiography Workforce.
See also Ashley et al for a cancer care perspective: Ashley L et al. Understanding and identifying ways to improve hospital-based cancer care and treatment for people with dementia: an ethnographic study. Age and Ageing, Volume 50, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 233–241, https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afaa210
Wendy Mitchell is a person living with dementia – her blog is “Which me am I today?”: https://whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com/
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