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An outstanding example of hospital care for patients with dementia

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 19 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2513
  1. Kate Sartain, carer, Southwell, Nottinghamshire

Specialist wards for patients with dementia can benefit patients, carers, and staff. Kate Sartain was impressed by the care her father received

“Old people are too often treated with contempt and exasperation … too often we want older citizens to accept a marginal and humiliating status, tolerated but not valued, while we look impatiently … for them to be off our hands,” said Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury, in his last speech to the House of Lords in December 2012.

In September 2011 it became obvious that Dad was developing dementia. Mum had died six months before. Her dementia was diagnosed in 2006, after years of us not quite realising what we were dealing with. The second time round it was easier to detect.

During the years when Dad cared for Mum, the government produced the national strategy Living Well with Dementia. Local strategic health authorities ran workshops where medical professionals, social workers, commissioners, and providers met with service users and carers to determine how best to deliver care for people with dementia. People were encouraged to tell their stories of living with dementia. I attended as a carer.

A picture emerged that caring for people with dementia is a highly skilled job in desperately …

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