One of the most reliable predictors of the outcome of the treatment is how committed the care team is to support the patient.  We ask a lot of our patient’s carers and so we also make sure before we consider taking on a patient that a certain level of care is in place. However, sometimes the responsibility of care falls to one single person and that becomes a very risky situation.

At Cogmission,  our role is only to make the recommendations, but the real ground work is done by friends, family and carers.  This week we had a very good example. We were surprised and disappointed to see a rapid deterioration in one of our patients who had made remarkable progress over several months. This gentleman has done so well on the programme as his wife is very devoted to his care.

It didn’t take long for his wife to tell us that she had been very ill with flu and was unable to even get out of bed. Within just a week, her husband had deteriorated significantly.  Although this could be due to not following the programme as well, the stress of not having his usual routine had completely derailed him.

From experience, we know that we will be able to get him back on track but every relapse that a patient has makes it a little harder to come back from.  It is therefore important for carers to have a back up plan in place, in cases where they are unable to continue the programme so that we maintain continuity. We therefor suggest having another friend or family member who is familiar with the plan who would be able to step in at short-notice. This also becomes critical giving the carer a much-needed respite from care.

Caring for a loved one with Dementia is gruelling.  It is a 24-hour, non-stop situation.  It is essential that the carer is given enough breaks to be able to sustain long-term support to the individual.  So, ideally what we need is a care team rather than relying on one single individual. Ask for help as often there are friends and family who would love to help but don’t know what it is that they can do.  Make them familiar with the programme and what is involved so that they can step in during emergencies, or even just for respite.

Most importantly, make sure that if you are the carer, you firstly take care of yourself. As selfish as this may sound.  The healthier and happier the carer is, the better the outcome for everyone. So, take that deserved break, call on others for help, and allow the care to continue for periods in your absence.

At CogMission, we believe strongly in supporting the carers of our patients. Please speak to us about any concerns you have around your own health and well-being.