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It is important to continue to monitor how the patient and carers are coping with the illness, and to ensure the support they are receiving is adequate.  Don’t forget that carer support is as important as patient support.

Acknowledging the family / carer demonstrates respect for their role in the patient’s life and enables the opportunity for communication about a topic that may be seen as having a stigma associated with it.

Dr Zheng and his family’s wishes for future care should be discussed during the family meeting.  This should include any training that might be required and the family’s capacity to provide the required level of care.  The health care team can then determine the services that are needed in order to help support Dr Zheng and his family throughout the dementia journey.  Many health care specialties may be involved in this process, including, but not exclusive to, a social worker, community health nurse, occupational therapist and physiotherapist.

Patients and families should be encouraged to contact the Alzheimer’s Australia, which can provide information and support.

www.alzheimers.org.au