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NSFT expert to give talks on dementia in Japan

​A Norwich-based medical expert in dementia care will be heading to Japan next week as a guest of honour at the screening of a film in which he is interviewed.

Dr Hugo de Waal, a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist, will also give talks, lectures and seminars on dementia in Tokyo at the invitation of NY GALS Films in association with The Foundation for Prevention of Dementia in Japan and Tokyo-based Mainichi Newspapers.

Dr de Waal, who works for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), will also renew his friendship with Japanese filmmaker Yuka Sekiguchi.

He first met Yuka in 2013 when she travelled to the UK to film different models of dementia care for her documentary film "Everyday Is Alzheimer's 2 – The Filmmaker Goes to Britain". In the film, she charts how her mother and her family live with Alzheimer's at home.

In researching dementia care, Yuka filmed at Hammerton Court, NSFT's specialist state-of-the-art dementia unit at the Julian Hospital, Norwich.

Dr de Waal played an instrumental role in securing the funding needed to build Hammerton Court, which opened in March 2012. He is still the responsible consultant for the unit, which has just under 40 beds for people with advanced dementia.

"I was interviewed and filmed in 2013 and last year Yuka returned to Norwich to film me again for 'Everyday Is Alzheimer's The Final: Death Becomes Us', which will be released in Tokyo cinemas on 14 July followed by local cinemas all over Japan," he said.

"I will attend an event with Yuka on 21 July and there will be keynote speeches, talks and interviews after the launch of the film. I've also got several media interviews lined up.

"People in Japan hold that the UK is at the forefront of dementia care worldwide and I've been asked to give a series of talks to diverse audiences, including family carers, the media and the Japanese Association for the Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease.

"Japan is similar to the UK in that it is an ageing society and they are particularly interested in the concept of person-centred care in dementia, which was pioneered in this country.

"It's an approach where our starting-point is to regard each person with a diagnosis of dementia as an individual and therefore to tailor the care and treatment we provide in a way that meets their individual needs most effectively and takes fully into account their personhood, rather than to treat them all the same."

Yuka said: "We are so happy to invite Hugo to Japan. This has been on my bucket list for a long time!"

Dr de Waal, who has worked for NSFT for 20 years, will also visit a care home during his 12-day visit to Japan.

He said one of the themes of the third "Everyday is Alzheimer's" film is end of life care for people living with dementia.

In his interview, he touches on some of the ethical dilemmas encountered at the end of life and advocates a firm and robust approach to palliative care.

Caption: The image is a still from "Everyday Is Alzheimer's The Final: Death Becomes Us" and shows Dr de Waal with Yuka Sekiguchi at Hammerton Court.

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