Volume 9, Issue 2: Huntington’s DiseaseAuthor: Jessica Willetts
It’s a sunny warm day and you’ve been enjoying a Mr Whippy when the radio goes off. You find you’re off to a 44-year-old male with breathing problems. On arrival you find yourself at a specialist care home for people with Huntington’s Disease. Dredging your memory banks to try and remember what Huntington’s is, you come up largely blank – how do you proceed with this patient?
Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a rare hereditary disease affecting men and women equally. The disease is progressive causing physical changes and significant neurological effects including changes to cognition, judgement and emotion. This article focuses on the particular concerns for ambulance staff when responding to a patient with HD such as issues associated with the high risk of aspiration pneumonia, artificial feeding, and advanced planning which may recommend a palliative approach or set ceilings of escalation. It provides guidance on how to assess and manage patients with HD including seeking the advice and opinions of carers who are likely to be experts in management of the disease.
Assessment Answers and References
You can check your answers to the quiz and download the references for this article by clicking the links below:
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