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  • Doctors miss opportunities for earlier diagnosis of dementia

    Doctors miss opportunities for earlier diagnosis of dementia

    24.03.17 A research project in which older people with memory problems were encouraged to consult their GP failed to achieve earlier diagnoses of dementia. University College London (UCL) researchers arranged for selected GP practices to send patients aged 70 or over a personally signed letter and information leaflets about dementia, resulting in a significant increase in the proportion of patients consulting their GPs with suspected memory difficulties. But the study of more than 14,000 patients in the south-east of England found no corresponding increase in the proportion of patients referred to memory clinics and that opportunities for an early diagnosis of dementia were therefore likely to have been missed. The researchers concluded that empowering patients by writing to them personally with relevant information was “not by itself enough to improve timely access to dementia services.”

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  • Dementia still “playing catch-up” with research spending

    Dementia still “playing catch-up” with research spending

    23.03.17 New figures indicate that numbers of dementia researchers across the UK have almost doubled since 2008 as funding to investigate the condition has risen, says a report from Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK), launched at its annual research conference in Aberdeen. But it warns that, while the gap between dementia research and research into other diseases has narrowed, it has still not caught up – for every one dementia scientist, there are now four cancer researchers whereas the ratio was one to six in 2008/9. ARUK’s report, “Keeping pace: progress in dementia research capacity,” is available at www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/keeping-pace. ARUK’s new animation about the impact of dementia and the charity’s progress with research, voiced by actress Pam Ferris, can be found at www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/dementia-research-statistics.

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  • Interested in talking about life? Contact Living Words

    Interested in talking about life? Contact Living Words

    22.03.17 Arts and dementia charity Living Words is inviting people living with dementia to participate in a series of six podcasts as part of the “Created Out of Mind” project at the Wellcome Collection in London. The six audio recordings will be entitled “Talking Life” and will consist of conversations between Susanna Howard of Living Words and the participant. “But we won’t talk about dementia,” says Susanna, “rather, we will talk about universal topics such as purpose, beauty, hope, desire, music etc. It will be my job to help each person choose the topic that's right for them. And then it will be up to me to ask the right questions when we record our conversations.” Created Out of Mind is funded by the Wellcome’s Hub Award grant and will be in residence until next year. Anyone interested in Talking Life should contact Susanna info@livingwords.org.uk.

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  • Promised Green Paper on social care will have to confront hard choices

    Promised Green Paper on social care will have to confront hard choices

    21.03.17 Publicly funded social care has become a “threadbare safety net for relatively poor people with the highest needs,” says the King’s Fund health think tank, arguing that the Green Paper promised in the Budget will have to confront some hard choices if social care is to be put on a sustainable footing. But the poor record of successive governments in acting on the previous social care reviews “does not bode well,” two of the Fund’s foremost commentators add. The extra £2 billion over 3 years for social care announced in the Budget will free up hospital beds by reducing delayed discharges from hospital, say King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham and senior fellow Richard Humphries in a British Medical Journal editorial, who comment that “rigorous oversight” will be needed to ensure that the new funding reaches social care. For the article, click HERE

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  • E-Newsletter 17 March 2017

    E-Newsletter 17 March 2017

    I am delighted to bring you my week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. In this Weekly Newsletter I am taking some of the best stories from the 24-hour newsfeed and adding some of my own. It is an editor’s selection that I hope you will enjoy.

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  • Alzheimer’s Society produces new booklet on young onset dementia

    Alzheimer’s Society produces new booklet on young onset dementia

    20.03.17 “Young onset dementia: Understanding your diagnosis” is a new booklet from Alzheimer’s Society for anyone under the age of 65 who has recently been told they have dementia.
    The booklet, available free in print or online, discusses treatments, support and services as well as giving information on issues such as impact on personal relationships, making communication easier, driving, and employment. Young people with dementia helped to produce the booklet. For the booklet click HERE

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  • Government considers replacing “failing” liberty safeguards

    Government considers replacing “failing” liberty safeguards

    20.03.17 The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) need to be “scrapped and replaced right away,” says Nicolas Paines QC of the Law Commission, which has produced its long-awaited report recommending a new system of safeguards for people with dementia and others deprived of their liberty. Publishing its recommendations this week the Commission, which was asked to review existing arrangements by the government, said that thousands of vulnerable people with dementia or learning disabilities were being detained in hospitals and care homes without appropriate checks. Instead, it has recommended that DoLS is replaced by a new scheme called Liberty Protection Safeguards, designed to take a more proportionate approach but also to widen the protections to include care and treatment at home. For the report click HERE

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  • Compassion in Dying report helps people plan for the end of life

    Compassion in Dying report helps people plan for the end of life

    17.03.17 “My Life, My Decision” is a new report from Compassion in Dying which encapsulates the lessons and recommendations of an ambitious outreach programme supporting people over 50 in planning for the end of life. It includes what is described as a “multi-layered approach” to enable people to plan for their end of life care, including: raising public awareness; one-to-one support to individuals to plan ahead using tools like advance decision to refuse treatment, advance statement or lasting power of attorney; training and awareness raising for professionals. The full My Life, My Decision report, a summary and lessons from the outreach project can be found here: http://compassionindying.org.uk/library/?_topics%5B%5D=330#

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  • Dementia access officers recruited to bring films to wider audience

    Dementia access officers recruited to bring films to wider audience

    17.03.17 Dementia friendly film screenings in local cinemas should become more frequent following the appointment of two specialist dementia and access officers by the BFI Film Audience Network. Supported by funding from the National Lottery, the initiative aims to bring quality independent films to a wider, more diverse audience, with an initial focus on “under-served audiences” in Wales but potentially extending UK-wide. The new recruits are Toki Allison, who has been appointed access officer and will work with Film Hub Wales, and Ellie Russell, who has been appointed dementia project officer with the film outfit Chapter. BFI said: “The roles were developed in response to the success of initial projects across all nine BFI Film Hubs and a need to unite these activities, offering a strong message for audiences who may otherwise have difficulty engaging with cinema. This seemed particularly apparent for people with dementia, their families, carers and specialists.”

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  • Faith communities can do more to support people with dementia

    Faith communities can do more to support people with dementia

    16.03.17 Faith Action, a national network supporting faith-based organisations, has just released a report called “Building Dementia-Friendly Faith Communities”. The report is based on the premise that faith communities can support people with dementia and their carers as well as help to prevent dementia from developing in the first place. It offers a collection of case studies showing how faith communities of all kinds are providing spiritual and emotional support, practical support, and dementia friendly faith communities within the wider community. “Given the scale of dementia within communities, many people who are part of faith communities will be affected by dementia either directly or indirectly. At the same time, faith communities have something important to offer,” Faith Action said. Go to http://www.faithaction.net/portal/our-projects/dementia/

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