"Unexplained delays in treatment"

About: South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust / Older people's mental health

(as a relative),

My story is about my partner who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007 at the memory clinic at Lewisham hospital. She was given areufit which she took till 2011. When we went for our usual test every six months, my partner wasn’t very cooperative that morning about the usual test and we were told very sternly that it was no point in coming anymore as it was only for the early stages and said the areufit wasn’t working and to stop taking it in September 2011.

We were told she would be looked after at home by the community health team every 4-6 weeks. We asked about alternative medication such as thermenoyl, exeillon or memantine. On one home visit a member of staff was sent to examine her and we asked the same question about alternative medication and we were told to go on our vitalize holiday which was a week especially for Alzheimer’s.

During our week we found out my partner could only walk for short periods and we had to hire a wheelchair for the remainder of the week which was the start on my partner’s steady decline as she lost the ability to walk and couldn’t form sentences.

She was finally given memantine in February 2012 and even though the damage was done she showed some improvement by smiling at people and losing the zombie look in her. I inquired through P. A. L. S but I have never been on the website, but maybe someone could give an explanation on why there was such a delay in medication. My partner died at St. Christopher’s hospice in November 2013.

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Response from Helena Taylor-Knox, The Power of Story Project, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

First of all can I offer, on behalf of the service, our deepest condolences for the loss of your partner in November 2013. I am saddened to learn of your experience and would like to assure you that we would genuinely like to look into the situation and see what happened, why it occurred and most importantly, how we can make sure that we learn from this.

In order to do this, can I ask you to get in touch with me directly? The reason for this is that we need some details to be able to look back at our records. My email address is Helena.Taylor-Knox@slam.nhs.uk. I can then pass the information to the relevant clinical manager who will look into the specific circumstances.

Thank you for taking the time to post some feedback on the Patient Opinion site, I am sure this was probably not an easy thing to do, following your bereavement.

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