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Guide on relieving distress in patients with dementia

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The National Council for Palliative Care has published guidance on helping alleviate pain and stress in people with dementia.

The How would I know? What Can I do? guide provides tips to healthcare professionals and carers on identifying whether someone with dementia is in distress and what might be causing it.

It also provides a range of possible solutions. Tips include:

  • Be aware of how the person reacts to external sights and sounds eg TV or radio, different types of music, mirrors, or bright sunlight;
  • Ensure the person has appropriate clothing for the temperature and environment;
  • Observe patients when they are calm to establish what a normal level of pain is and what they find comfortable;
  • Writing down behaviour as precisely as possible and noting what has happened before it occurs and what alleviates it to help identify patterns.

The guide has been published as part of the prime minister’s dementia challenge.

National clinical director for dementia Alistair Burns said: “This excellent new guide from the National Council for Palliative Care will be incredibly helpful in helping people to better understand the realities of living with and caring for somebody with dementia.”

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