Katryn’s support of dementia patients and carers
03/06/2014Reducing the stigma of a dementia diagnosis and offering hope to people at a time when they have been given difficult news are the biggest challenges in Katryn Symington’s role as Specialist Nurse in the Southern Trust’s Memory Service.
“I manage the nurse-led screening clinic at Edenderry House in Portadown,” explains Katryn. “The clinic provides early access to assessment, treatment and support for people with memory difficulties. At the clinic we investigate the causes of the person’s memory loss by carrying out physical investigations, neuropsychological tests and social assessment which assist in providing a diagnosis. The clinics have promoted early referral to the Service and have reduced non-attendance rates at outpatients, and unnecessary consultant reviews. This is all in line with the Northern Ireland-wide Dementia Strategy.”
Katryn is also an Independent Nurse Prescriber and she provides home/clinic reviews for people who have been commenced on memory drugs.
“I provide support for people with dementia and their carer, when they start treatment I’m able to adjust medication and change treatment according to their needs. I provide post diagnostic counselling and offer advice and support. Counselling can help empower people to understand their condition and plan for the future. It also helps the person with dementia and their carer focus on achieving the best possible quality of life.
“Reducing the stigma of a dementia diagnosis and offering hope to people at a time when they have been given difficult news are the biggest challenges I face in my role every day. The greatest job satisfaction I get is when someone says they are not afraid of their condition anymore.”
Katryn also works in partnership with voluntary, statutory and independent agencies that support people with dementia and their carer such as Alzheimer’s Society Northern Ireland and the Dementia Services Development Centre.
Anyone concerned about their memory should speak to their GP in the first instance.
Specialist Nurse Katryn Symington from the Memory Service