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The International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) being the leading international organization in the promotion of mental health and effective treatment of mental disorders in the elderly, has a long standing enviable tradition and track record in providing leadership in this field.
The literature available on the format of the feedback session following assessment of memory impairment is minimal. This study explored how this information should be presented from the perspective of patients and their families.
Thirty-two semi-structured interviews were conducted with memory clinic patients and their carer at the clinic visit that followed the feedback session, to ask: what they recalled, what they found helpful, and what they thought was the best way to disclose a diagnosis of dementia. A second interview was conducted with 14 patient/carer dyads at their next appointment.
Recall of information from the feedback session was variable. Most respondents (76% of patients; 66% of carers) thought that a direct approach was best when informing the patient of a dementia diagnosis, and that both written information and compassion demonstrated by the doctor were helpful. Opinions on whether all the information should be given at once or in stages were divided.
The current format of the feedback session needs revision to improve recall. Patients and their families want a direct approach to be used by a supportive and professional doctor with an opportunity to ask questions. They want the support of a family member or friend when they are told of their diagnosis and they would like a written summary to refer to afterwards.
Knowledge about some of the rarer causes of dementia is now quite advanced (Lautenschlager and Martins, 2005), which can in turn inform other more common causes of dementia. Such is the case with the monogenic disorder of Huntington's disease (HD) when compared to, say, Alzheimer's disease (AD). HD is an autosomal dominant hereditary neurodegenerative disease, which involves the basal ganglia, its connections to the frontal lobe and related neural circuits. The onset of HD is typically in mid-life (but onset can range from childhood to old age), with motor, cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms. There is currently no cure for this devastating and inevitably fatal neurodegenerative disease, with current treatment approaches being solely symptomatic. The highest frequencies of HD are found in Europe and in those countries whose populations are of predominately European origin such as the USA and Australia (approximately 1 case per 10,000 people).
With rapid ageing of the world's population, psychiatry of old age has become a crucial discipline. This succinct guide to the scope and practice of the psychiatry of old age provides an up-to-date summary of existing knowledge, best practice and future challenges for the specialty, from a global perspective. From definitions and demography to epidemiology, aetiology, and principles of assessment, diagnosis and management, each chapter is sharp, clear and practical, enhanced by tables and diagrams for quick assimilation and reference on the ward or in the clinic. As well as the main psychiatric conditions encountered in old age, coverage also includes legal and ethical issues, and the neglected topic of alcohol and drug abuse in the elderly. Written by leading clinicians, teachers and researchers and offering a much-needed international focus, this compact guide is essential reading for practising psychiatrists and geriatricians, as well as trainees, nurses and medical students.