2. Bed-bound for months: Frances & Ben's story
Ben, 70, was diagnosed with mixed dementia in December 2013. His wife Frances, 59, was able to care for him at home for almost a year but Ben's dementia deteriorated to the point where he needed 24/7 specialist care. He was admitted as an emergency into care home as things reached crisis point. Ben began to lose weight, dropping 5 1/2 stone, and became very weak, only able to eat pureed food. He was so unwell Ben's GP suggested a palliative care plan.
Frances believes the inappropriate use of anti-psychotic drugs were responsible for Ben's decline. The GP eventually agreed to stop Ben's medication in March 2015 and he regained his ability to eat and drink but Ben is still too weak to get out of bed and desperately needs access to a physiotherapist. Frances feels helpless and for some time has been fighting to get him access to an NHS special wheelchair assessment too. After little progress, Ben may be able to receive funding from a charity to secure a wheelchair but, for now, he is still bed bound.
'Ben has gone from being a strong 14 stone man to a bed bound 8 and a half stone shell. He needs access to NHS services in order to build his strength and get back some of the independence that he once had, it shouldn't be this hard to try and get him the support he so desperately needs. I've fought like a tiger to try and get Ben back on his feet, it's difficult because he can't ask for the care he needs himself. I visit him every day to always be by his side but it's an hour on the bus. It's so lonely for both of us.'
The whole experience has been, and continues to be, distressing for both Frances and Ben
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