Care given to those with dementia ‘can be improved’

Alison Davison with husband Glenn and children Joseph, Lucy and Emma.

Alison Davison with husband Glenn and children Joseph, Lucy and Emma.

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A Morpeth woman has drawn upon personal experience to support a campaign by the Alzheimer’s Society

The charity has launched Fix Dementia Care in the North East. The national call to improve care for people with dementia conditions was established after its research discovered failures and concerns at hospitals across the country.

Psychiatric nurse Alison Davison, 51, became her husband Glenn’s carer after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease aged just 50.

She is supportive of front-line hospital staff and feels they do a demanding job under often intense pressure.

However, she admits that had it not been for her medical knowledge and strong personality, the quality of her husband’s care could have been compromised.

The mother-of-three said: “The problem is that hospitals are simply not geared up to treat people who cannot make their needs known.

“Dementia patients need strong advocates to stand up for them, and that’s what Glenn had in me.

“Simple things like giving people with dementia eye contact when you are talking to them can help to alleviate stress. Glenn could become aggressive in certain situations, but if people gave him eye contact he’d usually calm down and even give them a smile.

“He wasn’t always given the right type of hydration in hospital either and, again, that usually comes down to poor communication.”

However, Mrs Davison added: “Dementia is a complex condition. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect all hospital staff to be adequately trained in dementia care when they have no prior knowledge of the person they’re dealing with – that seems like an impossible dream.”

People in the North East can find out more about and back the hospitals aspect of the campaign by going to www.alzheimers.org.uk/fix hospitalcare