Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Sharing the diagnosis of dementia

The following case study is taken directly from a 15-month intervention project that was funded by the Department of Health and undertaken in Gwynedd, North Wales. The focus of the experimental research was on early intervention in dementia care and was conducted in primary care.

The project employed two clinical specialists to pilot a psychosocial intervention at this early stage of the diagnosis of dementia to see whether or not such a package improved adjustment and coping patterns, both for the family and the person with the dementia. Of the two clinical dementia-care specialists, one was an experienced social worker and the other a community psychiatric nurse (CPN) with a long history of service development and clinical care for people with dementia and their families.

Professor Bob Woods, a well-known clinical psychologist in the field of mental health and older people and one of the authors of this chapter (JK) undertook the clinical supervision over the length of the project. Forming part of the caseload of the dementia-care specialists, the following (anonymous) case study illustrates some of the complexities and dilemmas that were faced by the workers (and their supervisors) at this point in the diagnostic and intervention cycle.

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