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May 2016   Comments

Misunderstandings

I am amazed that many health-care professionals, especially nurses, have no idea what Charles Bonnet syndrome is. It has been well described for more than a hundred years. Simply put, as your eyesight fails, the brain tries to fill in the gaps of vision — much like it fills in your scotoma, or blind spot. You may “see” patterns that are often interpreted as insects or people.

The condition can be very distressing for those who have it, especially when the professionals believe these patients are delusional and want to medicate to correct it. Once patients understand, they may be a bit sad but will accept it and, therefore, have no need for further intervention (“Antipsychotic Drug Use in Seniors,” April).The elderly are often misunderstood and need informed caregivers and advocates. Please be open to the life experiences of a group to which you will soon belong.

– Norma Johnson, RN
Langley, B.C.


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