Spirituality and Nursing

LO1: Define a mental health condition that affects a resident in your placement

A condition that affects a resident in my placement is dementia.   There are currently 700,000 people with dementia across the UK and that number is expected to rise to over one million by the year 2021 (Knapp et al, 2007).   Dementia is a disease that carries a massive personal, family, social and economic cost (Department of Health 2009).   Dementia is the progressive loss of the powers of the brain (Alzheimer Scotland 2009).   Alzheimer’s disease is the most common kind of dementia, which is caused by a build up of protein in the brain, but there are many more types of this illness.   Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, which is caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain cells. There are other forms of dementia, which are less common.   They include dementia with Lewy body, Pick’s disease, Huntington’s disease, HIV/AIDS and alcohol related dementia.   It is estimated that up to ten per cent of dementias are related to alcohol (Department of Health 2009). Dementia usually affects people in older age groups, but can affect people as young as 30 years old.   The illness affects both men and women, although due to the longer life expectancy of women, more women than men have dementia.   Each individual who has dementia is different.   Depending on which area of the brain is damaged will determine how the illness will affect them.

One of the most common symptoms of dementia is memory loss.   People with this illness can forget all sorts of things, including names of family members and friends.   They can also fail to recognise family members and other people. They can also become disorientated and forget where they are, what they are doing, if they have eaten or not.   The disorientation and memory problems associated with dementia mean that people with the illness may do things that carry risk – cooking, dealing with heating and other electrical and Gas appliances,...