Crerar Trust helps fund Specialist HD Service at Raigmore Hospital

Crerar Trust has thrown its support behind Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA) to help provide care and support to people with Huntington’s Disease (HD), their carers and families. A £2,500 donation was made to the charity which will help fund their Highland HD Specialist Service located at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

Huntington’s Disease is a devastating genetic disorder belonging to the same family as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease. It is considered rare, but with over 1000 people suffering from the condition across Scotland, and another 5000 at risk, it is not. Caused by the Huntington gene, the disease leads to gradual physical, mental and emotional changes requiring a complex suite of care to manage the condition although there is no cure.

On receipt of the donation, Sally Brewer, Fundraising Officer at Scottish Huntington’s Association said: “The support of the Crerar Trust for our work is massively appreciated and will be vital in enabling us to continue providing services which are desperately needed.  This gift will be put to good use and will make a very real difference to those affected by Huntington’s disease. With the help of the Crerar Trust we will be able to continue providing the practical and emotional care and support needed by people living with Huntington’s Disease, their carers and families in the Highlands.’

SHA currently work with over 100 people in the Highlands alone, and believe that many hundreds more are at risk in the area. On meeting Gordon, one of the HD specialists and discovering more about the disease Iain Watson, General Manager of Golf View Hotel & Spa, Nairn said ‘it was eye-opening to discover the battle that so many people local to us go through with HD, we are so thankful that we can support the specialist service at Raigmore Hospital and look forward to seeing the benefits to patients.’

Symptoms can develop at any age but most will develop symptoms between the ages of 30-45. Physical symptoms include; uncontrollable movements; problems with balance and co-ordination; loss of speech and the loss of the ability to swallow food and liquid safely. HD also causes cognitive problems; behavioural changes; loss of memory and loss of judgement. Many will suffer mental illness which can include psychosis, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and severe depression. Ultimately someone with HD will require 24 hour nursing care.

The Highland HD Specialist Service provides a lifeline to 100 people in the area. Based at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, it is well established, trusted and valued by both the families living with this devastating condition, who rely on the HD Specialist for practical and emotional support. The HD Specialist Service also has a close working relationship with local health and social care professionals.

Highland HD Specialist Service Aims.

  • To improve significantly the quality of life of those affected by HD and their families through timely specialist assessment, information and advice.
  • To support people living with HD and their families in the community and prevent inappropriate admission to hospital.
  • To make a significant impact on service provision and delivery through education and training of health care professionals and service providers.