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What is dementia?

Dementia is not a disease itself. It is a description of the range ofsymptoms caused by progressive damage to the brain which increase over time. These symptoms include memory loss,confusion, mood changes and communication difficulties. Thereare different medical conditions which cause dementia. The most common are:

Is the most common form of dementia. It is more common as we get older but is not a part of normal ageing. Alzheimer’s disease causes changes that go beyond normal ageing, such as a build up of proteins in the brain.

As Alzheimer’sprogresses, it causes increased damage in the brain which in turn increases the severity of the symptoms (leading to dementia).

Vascular dementia Is the second most common form of dementia. It occurs when blood flow to brain cells is reduced, resulting in the symptoms ofdementia.

If the memory and thinking problems caused by the reduced blood flow is not severe enough to be considered dementia, it is called vascular cognitive impairment.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is the third most common form of dementia.

It is caused by clumps of protein building up inside nerve cells in the brain which damage the way they function and communicate.

The nerve cells that are affected are in areas of the brain that control thinking, memory and movement.

People with DLB can also show some changes inthe brain that are typical of Alzheimer’s.

This sometimes makes ithard to tell the difference between the two diseases.

What patients and carers need to know about wardbased clinics

A stay in hospital can be stressful for both the patient and their family. 

During your stay your treatment will be planned by a group of people known as the ‘care team’.

The team is made up of:

  • medical staff
  • nursing staff
  • occupational therapist
  • activity coordinator
  • administrative staff.

All staff are committed to the care of people with dementia. You and your family or carer will be encouraged to participate in the decision making regarding the management of your care.

Carers and families will be invited to carer views on Thursdays and Fridays. This is an opportunity for you and your relative to beinformed of your care management.


Independent advocates visit the ward on aregular basis. Details are displayed on thenotice board and leaflets are available. Alternatively ask a member of staff to contact them for you.