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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 40-43

Cultural barriers and assessment of dementia: a case report

1 Specialist Registrar in Old age Psychiatry, Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Honorary Lecturer Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, Staffordshire University, Stafford, ST18 0AD, UK
2 Consultant Old age Psychiatrist, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

Correspondence Address:
Farooq Ahmed Khan
Honorary Lecturer, Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, Staffordshire University, Stafford, ST18 0AD
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: There are a number of reasons for the discrepancy that exists when people are assessed using standard cognitive assessment tools for cognitive impairment and their actual presentation. Case description: The authors describe the case of Mrs P who is a 72 years old lady of Polish descent but has lived in the United Kingdom (UK) for most part of her life. Mrs. P was removed from her job where she used to work as a cashier as she would miscalculate the money. She scored 3/30 on Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), which was remarkably low probably due to language and cultural issues. According to the family she did not face any challenges and problems due to her language, as she was able to speak good English though she would revert to Polish language in between. Discussion: British Minority Ethnic groups respond poorly on MMSE due to language issues. There is a need for culturally appropriate assessment tools to assess people with dementia who belong to different ethnic background. There is a need for training professionals in understanding the language and cultural issues of BME groups. Conclusion: Cultural sensitivities of dementia patients need to be understood and respected.

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