The Lewy Body Society, the only European charity focused exclusively on Lewy body dementias, the second most common type of dementia, warmly welcomes the Health Minister Jeremy Hunt’s pledge to invest £50M on dementia care environments and urges readers to ensure understanding of the different types of dementia is central to the training of health and social care staff.
“Not all dementias are the same,” explains Professor Ian McKeith, President of the Lewy Body Society who led the international work in the 1990s to classify the Lewy body dementias, which account for one in six cases of dementia. “Getting the diagnosis right can make a huge difference to people with dementia and their families and can potentially save the NHS lots of money.”
Like other dementias, the core problem with the Lewy body dementias is a progressive mental decline serious enough to interfere with normal daily activities, but their distinctive features include fluctuating cognition, visual hallucinations and spontaneous parkinsonism (slow movement, stiffness and falls), as well as problems with the body’s self-regulation of breathing, sweating, swallowing, digestion and blood pressure.
Cecilia Yardley, Senior Partnerships Officer for the Lewy Body Society concludes:
“Having an accurate diagnosis opens the door to the right treatment and support and gives people with dementia and their families more control of their lives. Improving dementia care home environments is very important, but to maximise this investment, staff must have a fuller understanding of dementia. When planning how to invest use this money, remember the Lewy body dementias”.
Senior Partnerships Officer (Dementia Programme)
Lewy Body Society and Parkinson’s UK
Phone: 0844 225 3740