article on treatment of Alzheimer's sufferers with interest.
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Reducing Alzheimer's Patients' Suffering

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This is a very sad and difficult issue for the medical profession to deal with.

One of the biggest difficulties faced by Alzheimer's sufferers and their families' is that the patients are not able to express any pain or suffering that they are experiencing in a coherent way that those treating them are able to understand. I, in my capacity as a clinical negligence lawyer, have spoken to numerous relatives of patients who believe that their relative is in pain, but that the treating doctor has not taken their reports of this seriously. The doctor equally, is faced with a patient that he or she does not know well enough on a day-to-day basis to realise that the symptoms reported are not simply a product of their illness, but are actually of real pain.

The decision whether or not to treat patients with antipsychotic drugs or painkillers clearly falls within the expertise of the treating doctors, but the matter that some thought has been given to the fact that people who are unable to clearly express pain, might actually be experiencing pain and are able to be effectively treated, has to be a positive move forward for all of those concerned in the care of patients with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.      

Kym Provan

Senior Solicitor - Clinical Negligence Team.

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