- New guidance in treating transgender patients with dementia at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.
- The institution would also include policies that would allow advice on how to best deal with the unique, but vulnerable group, particularly those who experience confusion over their gender preference and the gender assigned to them at birth.
- The updated guidelines would be instrumental in addressing the specific needs of transgender patients suffering from dementia and to ensure that they were provided appropriate care.
An updated set of healthcare policies that would ensure that transgender patients afflicted with dementia are treated with dignity and compassion are drawn up in North Wales.
According to the latest transgender news posted by BBC last March 12, the guidelines at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) were believed to be the first of its kind in the country.
Transgender health care
The institution would also include policies that would allow advice on how to best deal with the unique, but vulnerable group, particularly those who experience confusion over their gender preference and the gender assigned to them at birth.
In the previous year, there were 75 people from Wales who were advised to seek gender identity treatment, a number that indicated a three-fold increase since 2014.
One of the people who helped draw up the guidance, Jenny Burgess, said that these new guidelines were key in assisting people who may wake up one morning and would be confused on why their appearance is the way it is.
“Take for instance a transgender woman – they may well get quite concerned and disturbed at being in female clothes,” Burgess, 66, who had a sex reassignment surgery last year, explained. “They may worry why certain parts are missing from their anatomy. So it’s these sort of things that I’d like staff to be aware of. There’s no simple answer… but it really is a worrying scenario.”
Additionally, the new guidance would be instrumental in addressing the specific needs of transgender patients suffering from dementia and to ensure that they were provided appropriate care according to Sean Page, a BCUHB consultant nurse for dementia.
“As dementia progresses a person may not recall their current gender and they may see themselves being pre-transition and be surprised at the physical changes to their bodies,” he said. “This can result in them becoming very disorientated and anxious. They may not understand why they are being referred to as being a certain gender as they cannot recall publicly voicing this preference.”
Scheduled to be released to the hospital staff in the upcoming weeks, the guidelines would also include advice on how to coordinate with family and carers as well as how to assist transgender patients on how to maintain their preferred appearance when they were unable to do so by themselves.
Margaret Hanson, BCHUB vice chairwoman, explained, “These guidelines are real proof of what the NHS can do when staff listen to what those we serve truly need and I hope they will bring about real change in how the NHS in north Wales supports this unique, but vulnerable, group of older citizens.”
According to its website, BCHUB is the largest health organization in Wales. It provides care to 678,000 people belonging to the six countries of North Wales, Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham through a host of primary, community, mental health and acute hospital service.