Dementia has been defined as ‘…a progressive decline in general cognitive function … with impairment of memory, abstract thinking, judgment, verbal fluency and the ability to perform complex tasks.’ Dementia is not just cognitive impairment – it is associated with behavioural and psychological changes, and impairment of social and physical functioning. Dementia can be a difficult condition to diagnose, but a timely diagnosis is essential for appropriate decision making and planning. Registrars are likely to have had minimal exposure to this aspect of practice. This is the first of two teaching plans on dementia – the other is on management.
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