Genetic education in dementia care
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Genetic education in dementia care

Maggie Robertson Research fellow, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
Peter Connelly NHS Tayside consultant in psychiatry of old age, honorary senior lecturer in psychiatry, University of Dundee, Dundee, School of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland
Eleanor Brown Head of curriculum, health and social science, Perth College UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands), Perth, Scotland
Lawrence Whalley Professor emeritus, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland

Aim To demonstrate the benefits of collecting family history systematically to enhance the care provided to families living with dementia. In addition, to identify the contribution nurses can make in responding to relatives’ concerns about dementia and its risk factors.

Method An individual case study was derived from a larger observational study of the psycho-educational needs of families affected by dementia. This case study presents extracts from one anonymised interview with an adult son whose father has dementia.

Findings The family of the patient with dementia did not feel they had a positive experience of care delivery. Although they had a high level of knowledge and personal experience of dementia, their beliefs and concerns appear to have been overlooked by healthcare staff. This may have led to a delay in the diagnosis of dementia and missed opportunities for earlier treatment.

Conclusion Healthcare staff should consider the concerns expressed by people with dementia and their families. Knowledge of the risk factors for dementia and risk-reduction strategies can improve the care nurses provide. This should include an increased awareness of the complex interaction between genes, environment and lifestyle.

Nursing Standard. 30, 33, 40-49. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.33.40.s44


Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 06 February 2015

Accepted: 29 May 2015