"My friend's dementia care"

About: Stratheden Hospital / Old age psychiatry Victoria Hospital / General Medicine Whytemans Brae Hospital

(as a friend),

My friend has had diabetes since he was a child. He had no family for several years before his death, but he had a couple of close friends, one of whom became an informal "next-of-kin" after he was admitted to VHK, ward 44 when his diabetes became out-of-control in January '15.

My friend's diabetes was treated, but his mental state went downhill and he was eventually confirmed with dementia. He remained in ward 44 for 9+months, though it grew increasingly inappropriate as he became subject to mood-swings and became prone to wandering off.

On one occasion he turned up at Kirkcaldy Galleries to visit a friend in his dressing gown, in the rain and was returned before anyone noticed.

Nursing staff stated that ward 44 was inappropriate, and eventually he became institutionalised. He reacted angrily when he was taken to a residential home. Eventually he was taken to Whytemans Brae which was probably even less appropriate, before eventually he was taken to Elmview at Stratheden which seemed an ideal secure environment with staff suited to care of dementia patients.

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Responses

Response from Louise Ewing, Patient Relations Manager, NHS Fife

picture of Louise Ewing

Dear East Wemyss

Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. It made for very sad reading and is not the experience we want for people. Dementia is a cruel disease and it is very difficult to see a person's mental health deteriorate as the condition progresses. Reaching a diagnosis and then getting a person into an appropriate care setting can take longer than we would like at times and it sounds like this was the case for your friend. I am sorry that this experience has left you feeling this way. I will make sure your post is shared and thank you once again for taking the time to highlight these important issues.

Regards

Louise Ewing

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