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Registered Manager's perspective: Part 1
Experience of supporting people with learning disabilities and dementia
The journey towards a diagnosis of dementia for a person with a learning disability can be extremely lengthy, with lots of obstacles to overcome along the way. Often, a person will first be diagnosed with other illnesses or conditions before the diagnosis of dementia is given. The whole process can leave both the person and staff confused, unsure of how to move forward or how to continue to support the person to lead a fulfilling life.
This journey undoubtedly has an emotional impact on everyone involved; the person, friends, family and staff will all be affected from the initial signs of dementia right through to diagnosis and continuing when lifestyle choices need to be made.
It is essential that throughout this process the person remains at the heart of all decisions being made, making the approach person-centred rather than service-centred. It is often the case that as the dementia progresses, what a person once liked or disliked may change. As people with a learning disability are not always able to communicate this change well with their progressing dementia, the person must be put at the heart of the approach, which involves knowing the person and their life history to help inform supported decision making.
In the first part of this series of videos about a Registered Manager’s perspective on the emotional impact of supporting someone with dementia, Sarah Lancaster, a Registered Manager at one of MacIntyre’s services in Milton Keynes, introduces the story of Alison, who is supported by MacIntyre.