Dementia education lacking in Nova Scotia: advisory committee
The Dementia Strategy Advisory Committee is now half way through its work
A group appointed by the province to examine dementia care, now half way through its research, said it's clear people in Nova Scotia have a lot to learn about this growing problem.
"What's most important is that we have those issues validated by Nova Scotians," said Lloyd Brown, the co-chair of the province's Dementia Strategy Advisory Committee, which was named by the province in May.
Six months into the committee's work to come up with suggestions for improving the province's care, their focus groups have highlighted a lack of knowledge as a key issue.
"There is a huge need across this country for people to be educated about the disease," said Brown. That education, he said, is especially needed among the baby boomer population in order to diagnose people as early as possible.
When I was diagnosed, I had no idea of what to expect, what the symptoms were, where to go for help.- Faye Forbes
"Education is number one," said Faye Forbes, a committee member who lives with dementia. "When I was diagnosed, I had no idea of what to expect, what the symptoms were, where to go for help, or anything like that."
Brown, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, said since the group began its work in May 2014, it has come up with "six areas of focus for our dementia strategy," including, "public awareness, early diagnosis, support for family and care partners, informed health care providers, co-ordinated care and research."
Other areas of concern include care.
"We've got an issue around co-ordination of care" and inconsistencies in how people are treated, said Brown.
The committee is looking to focus groups — people with dementia, their caregivers and families — for feedback. Brown is encouraging more public response online through the Department of Health and Wellness's questionnaire.
Care providers, health care professionals and advocates are also part of the province's committee.
"We feel we're pretty much on target in terms of the mandate the minister gave us," said Brown.
Health Minister Leo Glavine "wants the report on his desk by the Spring of 2015."
Brown expects the committee's interim report to be complete in the next three months.