Professor Rowan Harwood is a geriatrician at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the University of Nottingham, with particular interests in delirium, dementia and end of life care, who maintains an active portfolio of research. He tweets @RowanHarwood He will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Spring Meeting in Nottingham.
Why diagnose dementia? And why diagnose dementia early? Because we want to do something to make lives better? If so, what?
People living with dementia are vulnerable to a cascade of failing abilities, inactivity, deconditioning and crises from which they may not make a full recovery. Most people living with dementia are, by definition, frail – prone to deterioration and adverse events. The average age of diagnosis is about 85. Ideally early intervention should preserve activity and independence and reduce risk, including risk of the commonest adverse event, falls. Yet the ‘offering’ of health service in response to a dementia diagnosis is painfully thin – cholinesterase inhibitor drugs, cognitive stimulation therapy and a dementia advisor maybe. Continue reading