Sunday, 19 August 2012

Unanswered questions

Browsing online forums, I've seen two interesting questions raised. Neither of them has been answered. In fact they've been more or less ignored.

The first questioner, whose parent has vascular dementia, asked about the possibility of rehabilitation. One can see where she is coming from. Vascular dementia is often described as a series of mini-strokes (though some of them are not so mini it seems). We frequently hear about stroke patients who appear to have lost many of their abilities but gradually regain them with intensive help. So why, apparently, is no attempt made to give similar help to vascular dementia patients following a mini-stroke. They are often described as typically 'plateauing' after each mini-stroke and this would seem to be the appropriate time to attempt to help them make good some of their deficits, at least partially.

If I'm right in believing that this is rarely, if ever, attempted is it because the assumption is that any ground regained will quickly be lost when the next downturn occurs? Is it down to lack of resources? It would be interesting to know.

Another person asked about the possibility of counselling to help people with dementia. To those with no experience of family members with dementia, this might seem a silly question. It's not, for at least two reasons. These days, some people are often diagnosed quite early  -  at a time when they are able to communicate pretty adequately and when they often have a fair degree of awareness of their condition. There are also people that one comes across who have the ability to communicate effectively even with people who are at an advanced stage and who could probably help them in a 'counselling' way.

Actually there do seem to be some pockets of good practice in this respect, but mention the idea to most professionals and it doesn't seem to get you anywhere.

It amazes me that, given conditions for which there is no cure, so little effort is being put into developing effective treatments, other than into drugs which help some people to some extent but also often have unpleasant side-effects.

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