Dementia drugs robbed my father of his laughter, his smile and the final weeks of his life, says Fiona Phillips
'He was like something out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'Fiona's father Neville diagnosed just weeks after her mother succumbed to dementia in 2006Two sedatives he was given were addictive and could cause cognitive decline, her research revealed

Television presenter Fiona Phillips has claimed a ‘chemical cosh’ of dementia drugs robbed her father of the final weeks of his life.

The former GMTV host described how her father Neville was given a vast cocktail of medicines which left him so heavily sedated he was ‘totally out of it’.

His medication covered two sides of an A4 sheet of paper, she said.

Heartbroken: Fiona Phillips, pictured with her father Neville in 2009, claimed that dementia drugs robbed him of the final weeks of his life

Heartbroken: Fiona Phillips, pictured with her father Neville in 2009, claimed that dementia drugs robbed him of the final weeks of his life

Dignity for the elderly

Alzheimer’s sufferer Mr Phillips died
earlier this month. His rapid deterioration has led his daughter to
question whether the drugs cost him years of his life.

She said: ‘I am so angry at the way my
lovely, lovely dad was treated at the end. In his final weeks he was so
coshed by drugs that his poor body couldn’t cope.

‘They robbed him of his laughter, then
his smile, which was all that he had got left, and I am absolutely
furious about that. Then they robbed him of his life.

‘That is what is keeping me awake at
night now, it’s the anger. Without the powerful drugs they used to
sedate him he could have had another few years.

Tragic: Fiona, second from right, with her mother Amy who died in 2006

Tragic: Fiona, second from right, with her mother Amy who died in 2006 and father Neville who died in 2012

CHEMICAL COSH EPIDEMIC

/02/27/article-2107059-02BDDBCA00000578-132_306x648.jpg” width=”306″ height=”648″ alt=”Fiona quit her role as GMTV presenter after 12 years to spend more time with her family ” class=”blkBorder” />

Fiona quit her role as GMTV presenter after 12 years to spend more time with her family

She described her shock on her next
visit at her father’s rapid deterioration, saying: ‘He’d put on weight
from the drugs and his hair was white. “Oh Dad,” I said, “What have they
done to you” And I broke down in tears.

‘But there was no response, he was totally out of it. His body had been clobbered with drugs.

‘He was like someone out of One Flew
Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. My heart was broken. Next time I went his eyes
were glazed, his mouth was hanging open and his tongue was lolling.’

Miss Phillips said she alerted nurses
to her father’s laboured breathing and high temperature and, six days
later, he was admitted to a general hospital with pneumonia. Doctors
warned his organs were failing. He died a few days later, aged 77.

Researchers have revealed that more than a quarter of elderly dementia sufferers are being subdued with ‘chemical cosh’ drugs.

They warned earlier this month that
some medications can double the risk of early death – leading to an
estimated 1,800 premature deaths a year – and treble the risk of
strokes. Studies have also found they reduce brain volume and worsen the
symptoms of dementia.

The Daily Mail has long called for an
improvement in the care of dementia sufferers as part of our Dignity for
the Elderly campaign.

Miss Phillips, who has two sons,
Nathaniel, 12, and Mackenzie, nine, with her husband Martin Frizell, has
become an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society.

For more information and support for dementia visit the Alzheimer's Society website at www.alzheimers.org.uk or phone their helpline on 0845 300 0336