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Expert: Serious shortcomings in care for dementia patients

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Prague, June 18 (CTK) – The Czech care for patients with dementia suffers from serious shortcomings, Iva Holmerova, head of the Czech Alzheimer Society and head physician of the Gerontocentre in Prague, has told journalists.

Of the country’s 140,000 patients with dementia, most people stay in home care and one third are cared for in various institutions, which corresponds to the EU average, Holmerova said.

The relevant social institutions mostly do not offer any medical care and their patients often do not see a doctor’s visit for several years.

The conditions in medical facilities, on their part, remind those in hospitals, Holmerova said.

The state support to families caring for their senile relatives is insufficient, she said.

“Unfortunately, the responsibility for the care [for these patients] is divided between the Health and the Social Affairs Ministries, neither of which recognises the duality of needs, which naturally exists in this area,” Holmerova said.

She said the European project Dementia Palliare could help change the state’s approach.

The project will focus on the education of health care workers and support the life of dementia patients. A special educational programme is to mediate the knowledge to professional staffers as well as family members who care for senile patients at home.

A web platform for the exchange of information is to be launched.

The two-year European project has been conducted by the University of the West of Scotland in cooperation with the Faculty of Humanities of Prague’s Charles University and university centres in Finland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Holmerova said 30 percent of the patients suffer from a serious form of dementia and 40 percent from a moderate one which, too, requires special health care.

These people should be offered a broad range of services to secure their quality life.

“The services do exist in the Czech Republic…but they must be newly targeted at people with dementia in order to meet their needs,” Holmerova said.

She said the Palliare project may contribute to the national strategy for tackling the Alzheimer disease, which the cabinet promised to draft in 2010.

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