September 12, 2008

Helping Carers Understand Dementia

Hull: Carers of people with dementia are set to benefit from a major new research project into why people who suffer from the disease get distressed.

More than 750,000 people throughout the UK have dementia, but their behaviour is often a mystery to their carers.

The new "Challenge demcare" project will help carers to understand why people with dementia get distressed and how to help them feel happier with their own lives.

It will be led by Professor Esme Moniz-Cook, consultant clinical psychologist at Humber Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust and honorary professor of clinical psychology and ageing at the University of Hull.

She said: "We want to develop practical, personalised programmes that people with dementia, their families and health and social care staff can use to help maintain autonomy and dignity.

"As a clinician, it is especially exciting to be given the opportunity to work with people with dementia and their families in finding support that really works to resolve the challenges they face in their everyday lives."

Many dementia patients are given strong anti-psychotic drugs in response to their behavioural patterns.

However, these can have side effects, including increasing the risk of strokes and falls and leaving patients more agitated.

But Professor Moniz-Cook hopes the new research can give carers another option - understanding why dementia sufferers become agitated and learning other ways to cope with it.

The pounds2m project has been funded by the National Institute of Health Research and will be officially launched by Health Secretary and MP for Hull West and Hessle Alan Johnson at the Village Hotel, west Hull, next Friday.

For more information, visit the Humber Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust website,

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