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Dementia and frailty 

Dementia and frailty
Chapter:
Dementia and frailty
Author(s):

Max Watson

, Rachel Campbell

, Nandini Vallath

, Stephen Ward

, and Jo Wells

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198745655.003.0020
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date: 22 August 2019

This chapter outlines the symptoms, epidemiology, aetiology, and differential diagnosis of dementia, with emphasis on advanced disease. It discusses the role of dementia treatments, the challenges faced with advanced disease, and guides to recognition and treatment of common symptoms, including behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and pain. The chapter also discusses pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to management of dementia symptoms, highlighting the role of palliative care, when it is appropriate to refer, and terminal care. The chapter illustrates some of the controversial aspects of care. At the current rate there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK by 2015, and this number is forecast to increase to over 1 million by 2025 and over 2 million by 2051.This is contributing to one in four hospital admissions, with the health and social costs of dementia estimated to be more than stroke, heart disease, and cancer combined. Along with these worrying progressive epidemiological figures, we need to take into account the immense caring burden for families, carers, and society. End-stage dementia often falls between the cracks of specialization, with professionals feeling under-prepared for the intricacies of end-stage dementia management strategies. Palliative care has been slow in its involvement for multiple reasons, but primarily because dementia has a much slower disease trajectory than cancer, with an unclear prognosis.

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