Dementia is not a specific disease. It is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer disease or a series of strokes. It is a term that describes a collection of symptoms that are a result of damage to areas of the brain, which are responsible for higher level cognitive functions, such as reasoning, memory, attention, and language. More than 100 different diseases have been identified that cause symptoms of dementia.
There is currently no cure for dementia, and aetiology and pathogenesis of the disease remain elusive. Consequently, disease management consists of a palliative approach and maintenance of quality of life.
Epidemiologic data has shown that there is an increasing number of people living with dementia, which poses a challenge for the health care industry. A number of issues facing dementia management have been identified with patients often struggling to get the care they need.
In 2018, dementia is estimated to cost Australia more than $15 billion, with that predicted to increase to more than $18.7 billion by 2025. People with dementia account for 52% of all residents in residential aged care facilities.
This second module in our series about dementia, provides an overview of available treatments and the recommended strategies and guidelines for dementia care.
It is aimed at all nurses who are coordinating care for patients who present with symptoms or who have been diagnosed with dementia. It will be of interest to anyone involved in nursing who has an interest in neurodegenerative disorders or geriatric medicine.
At the end of this module participants will be able to: