Inside Health

BBC Radio 4


Dr Mark Porter demystifies health issues, separating fact from fiction and bringing clarity to conflicting health advice, with the help of regular contributor GP Margaret McCartney


Dying at Home, Familial Hypercholesterolaemia FH, Delirium

October 18th, 2016

Episode 329 of 345 episodes

Most of us say we'd like to die at home but few of us actually achieve this wish - something the NHS is keen to change. An award-winning GP surgery in Lancaster, The King Street and University Medical Practice, has transformed the way they care for patients reaching the end of their life, twice winning the Gold Standards Framework Quality Hallmark Award. Dr Nour Ghazal tells Dr Mark Porter what they've done to ensure their patients have a say in how and where they would like to die and Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney describes how important it is to broach that most difficult of subjects. Familial Hypercholesterolaemia, also known as FH means that you have inherited high cholesterol levels and the consequences of this, if you don't know about it, can be deadly. Over half of men with FH will have a heart attack before they are 55, a third of women with FH before they're 60. But a simple genetic test can identify the condition and with a good diet, exercise and lipid lowering drugs like statins, people can live long and healthy lives. Steve Humphries, Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics at University College London tells Mark that only 15,000 people in the UK have a diagnosis of FH but it's thought that almost a quarter of a million people could in fact have the condition. So the race is on to identify and diagnose the thousands who don't know that they're carrying the suspect genes. Lorraine Priestley-Barnham, an FH clinical nurse specialist at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex describes the cascade testing being rolled out across the country in a programme supported by the British Heart Foundation. And three generations of the same family, father Chris, daughter Joanne and grandson, six year old Alfie, tell Inside Health how they found out they have FH. Delirium - an acute confused state with hallucinations and psychosis - is incredibly common in hospitals. One in five patients can experience it, many more in intensive care. Fiona tells Mark about her own experience in ICU after major surgery last year, when she believed she was being held prisoner and experimented on. She tried to escape from the ward and her daughter, Catherine, describes how distressing it was to witness her mother in such a terrified state. Julie Darbyshire, Critical Care Research Manager at the University of Oxford has done some of the first research into patients' experience of delirium and ICU consultant pharmacist, Mark Borthwick, who has a special interest in the condition, tells Mark about the different types of delirium.

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