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Information about the care we provide

Neurodegenerative diseases are a range of conditions which mainly affect the neurons in the human brain. Neurons are the building blocks of the nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord. Neurons transmit information throughout the body. When neurons become damaged or die, they cannot be replaced by the body.

Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable conditions that result in progressive deterioration of neurons. This can cause problems with movement (ataxias), or mental functioning (dementias).

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Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia in the UK, with around 520,000 people today living with the condition.

With Alzheimer’s disease, protein builds up in the brain and forms structures that stop nerve cells from connecting with each other.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease which means that more and more parts of the brain become damaged over time.

Memory loss is an early symptom of Alzheimer’s, but people can also have difficulty following conversations, concentrating, judging distances or lose track of the day or date.

Visit the Alzheimer’s Society website for more information:

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Dementia with Lewy bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies is one of the most common age-related neurodegenerative diseases. It is thought to affect around 100,000 people in the UK.

Dementia with Lewy bodies can have similar mental symptoms to Alzheimer’s and physical symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. For these reasons it can often be misdiagnosed, however, the correct diagnosis is essential to successfully treat the disease.

Lewy bodies are deposits of protein on the brain that can lead to the death of brain cells.

Unfortunately, at present, there is no cure for dementia with Lewy bodies, however, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease medication can alleviate some symptoms.

Visit the Lewy Body Society website for more information:

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Frontotemporal dementia (Pick’s disease)

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) was originally known as Pick’s Disease. It is an uncommon form of dementia and can affect the front and the sides of the brain. It is caused by protein forming on the brain.

Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia include memory problems, personality or behaviour changes, problems with language (e.g. using the wrong words, speaking slowly or struggling to get words out) as well as problems concentrating, organising or planning.

The progression of FTD varies from person to person.

Visit the FTD Support Group for more information:

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Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s Disease is caused by a faulty gene. It is an inherited disease and there is a 50% change of a parent passing the disease onto their child.

The symptoms of Huntington’s disease vary widely between people. Even people in the same family may be affected differently. However, changes usually affect three main areas:

  • Movement (movements may happen that you don’t expect, while doing what you do want to do becomes more difficult)
  • Cognitive (difficulties with planning and thinking)
  • Behaviour (changes in behaviour and personality)

Symptoms usually develop between the ages of 30-50 years, although they can start at any time.

Visit the Huntington’s Disease Association website for more information:

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Korsakoff syndrome

Korsakoff syndrome is one of the less common forms of alcohol related brain damage. It develops as part of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This has two stages: Wernicke’s encephalopathy followed by Korsakoff syndrome. Korsakoff syndrome occurs if Wernicke’s encephalopathy is not treated quickly enough.

Visit the Korsakoff syndrome page on the Alzheimer’s Society website for more information:

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Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. Over time, brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine die. Symptoms appear when the brain cells don’t produce enough dopamine to control movement. The main symptoms of Parkinson’s are slowness of movement, stiffness and a tremor. However, there can be other non-motor symptoms such as pain and mental health issues.

The number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the UK is about 145,000.

Visit the Parkinson’s UK website for more information:

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Prion disease

Prion diseases are a group of neurodegenerative diseases caused by prions, which are “proteinaceous infectious particles”. Prion diseases are caused by misfolded forms of the prion protein, also known as PrP. These diseases affect mainly mammals and are rare in humans.

The human forms of prion disease are Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI), Gertsmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS), Kuru and Variably Protease-Sensitive Prionopathy (VPSPr). All of these diseases are caused by slightly different versions of the same protein, so we refer to them all as prion diseases.

Prions slowly spread across the brain and neurons become damaged and die, this is when symptoms appear.

Symptoms include; a loss of memory, change of personality, slurred speech and loss of co-ordination and balance.

Visit the National Prion Clinic website for more information:

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia, also known as multi-infarct dementia (MID) and vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), is dementia caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain, typically a series of minor strokes, leading to worsening cognitive decline that occurs step by step.

Vascular dementia is the most common dementia after Alzheimer’s affecting around 150,000 people in the UK.

Some symptoms may be similar to those of other types of dementia. Memory loss is common in the early stages of Alzheimer’s but is not usually the main early symptom of vascular dementia.

The most common cognitive symptoms in the early stages of vascular dementia are:

  • Problems with planning or organising, making decisions or solving problems
  • Difficulties following a series of steps (e.g. cooking a meal)
  • Slower speed of thought
  • Problems concentrating, including short periods of sudden confusion

Visit the vascular dementia page on the Dementia UK website for more information:

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Can I be involved in my relative’s care?

Yes, we would like you to be involved, with your relative’s permission, in the care that we deliver, and each resident is allocated a named nurse who is your link for regular updates.

In the event that your relative or friend cannot give consent, we will be following the principles of the Mental Capacity Act. Please ask a member of the nursing team if you would like more information on this. We will therefore be guided by your relative’s wishes and legislation to make contact with you as required and involve you with the care plans, reviews and updates.

Please note that we are limited as to information we can share with individuals who are not the next of kin and do not hold legal responsibilities. If you are aware of your relative having an advance directive, lasting power of attorney or court appointed deputy, please let one of the managers/ nurses know and we ask that you bring in a copy of the relevant document for their files. If you would like more information on this, please ask a member of our team.