Background Patients with Huntington’s disease (HD) can present with a range of psychiatric and behavioural symptoms, which can be distressing to the individual and can impact negatively upon their everyday functioning and relationships. Psychiatric symptoms can include: depression, suicidal ideation, mania and obsessive compulsive disorder. Non-specific behavioural symptoms may include: irritability, anxiety, agitation, impulsivity, apathy, social withdrawal and obsessiveness. These symptoms can occur at any stage of the disease but they can be particularly hard to recognize and treat late in the disease.
Aims This study aims to identify the nature of psychiatric and behavioural symptoms in a group of patients, diagnosed with HD, in a specialist long-term care setting.
Methods/techniques Six patients from a specialist long term care setting were reviewed with reference to psychiatric and behavioural symptoms, using psychological, psychiatric and behavioural assessment.
Results/outcome All patients were found to present with psychiatric and behavioural symptoms of varying degrees, requiring different interventions. A person-centered, interdisciplinary approach was required to achieve successful management of these symptoms; however success was inconsistent and necessitated flexibility within the plan of care.
Conclusions Results indicate that, due to the unique course of the HD process for each individual patient, the development of a person-centered approach to care planning and intervention that is both interdisciplinary and flexible is necessary, within the context of a long-term care setting. Results are discussed with reference to factors influencing the degree of success of intervention.
- Behavioural symptoms
- Long term Care
- Huntington’s disease