Scotland’s biggest health board has taken on a new specialist Allied Health Professional (AHP) consultant for dementia.
Christine Steel has been appointed by the Scottish Government on a two year secondment with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Christine will be responsible for implementing Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy in relation to AHP practice in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area and working in partnership with colleagues from other agencies including Alzheimer’s Scotland.
She said: “My focus is on acute general health care settings, to meet one of the challenges set out in the strategy. “The fear of dementia can lead to people delaying in coming forward for diagnosis and this means they don’t receive vital post-diagnosis support.
“I will be looking at general healthcare services and how they respond to people with dementia and their carers, including issues around being treated with dignity and respect, and ensuring carers receive the support required to continue caring.
“The focus of my post is on recognising the unique and valuable contribution AHPs can make for the patient journey for people with dementia and their carers.”
According to current statistics approximately 72,500 people in Scotland have dementia and because of the aging population this is expected to double over the next 25 years.
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of brain diseases characterised by a progressive decline in intellectual and other mental functions.
Many people with dementia live in the community and Christine explained: “People hear the word dementia and often think of someone who needs constant care and support.
“But people with dementia can have a wide spectrum of abilities. A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t mean that the person is unable to continue to live at home, in fact 63 per cent of people with a diagnosis of dementia are living in the community. “
Under the national dementia strategy people will be encouraged to seek help in the early stages:
“There are real advantages if people are given an early diagnosis,” went on Christine, “it means that individuals can make decisions and get advice about their care.
Each of the AHP disciplines involved in the care of people with dementia and their carers bring a different dimension to their care e.g. occupational therapists working within memory groups, physiotherapists looking at those at risk of falling, dietitians working on nutrition, speech and language therapists looking at communication, podiatrists and art therapists.
In addition to applying their specialist skills, the AHPs work as a team with shared goals to enhance the patient journey for people with dementia and their carers.
Notes to Editors:
Christine is one of three Allied Health Professional Consultants to be appointed by the Scottish Government.
Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) support people of all ages in their recovery, helping them to regain movement or mobility, overcome visual problems, improve nutritional status, develop communication abilities and restore confidence in everyday living skills, consequently helping them to enjoy quality of life even when faced with life-limiting conditions. They work as key members of multi-disciplinary, multi-agency teams, bringing their rehabilitation focus and specialist expertise to the wider skills pool.
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