01 October 2013
Dementia services for people with learning difficulties
Evidence shows that dementia is more common in
people with learning difficulties. In particular, people with Down
syndrome are at greater risk and may develop dementia at an earlier
The learning difficulties services are therefore working hard to
make sure that people with learning difficulties can be thoroughly
assessed for dementia and get the advice and support they need.
This is being done by running specialist dementia clinics and
adapting a range of assessments for people with learning
difficulties. These assessments involve different professionals who
know the client well, such as psychiatrists, occupational
therapists and community nurses. The learning difficulties team
work closely with general practice and social care and provide
support for families and carers, arranging assessments for them and
signposting to relevant organisations.
In the last year, the team have developed accessible information
for people with learning difficulties about dementia, the
assessments and medication.
Another exciting innovation is 'dementia care mapping', where
the team's therapists look at a person's environment and advise on
adjustments, enabling them to be supported in their home for as
long as possible.
Salim Razak consultant psychiatrist for the team says: "We are
all passionately committed to helping people with learning
difficulties and dementia and making sure they and their families
and carers receive high quality service and support."