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  • Care Quality Commission praises hospices for outstanding ratings

    Care Quality Commission praises hospices for outstanding ratings

    13.10.17 On the eve of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has praised hospices in England as having the highest percentage of services rated “outstanding.” It says 25% of hospices are rated outstanding and a further 70% are rated good. In comparison, 6% of hospitals, 4% of GP practices and 2% of home care agencies, nursing and residential care homes are rated outstanding. The CQC found that hospice leaders and staff were committed to person-centred, compassionate care and support for service users and their families, as well as to developing strong relationships with other local services. This week is Hospice Care Week and World Hospice and Palliative Care Day takes place tomorrow (14 October). See the CQC’s report The State of Hospice Services in England 2014 to 2017, published today, HERE

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  • “Tens of thousands” of people miss out on council tax discount

    “Tens of thousands” of people miss out on council tax discount

    12.10.17 Tens of thousands of people who are entitled to a council tax discount because of “severe mental impairment” are missing out, including people with dementia, says research by MoneySavingExpert.com. Conditions involving an impairment of intellectual or social functioning, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s, qualify for the discount which can be worth £400 a year or more. To claim the discount, which applies in England, Scotland and Wales, a formal diagnosis is required along with a completed claim form obtainable from local authorities. John Wattis, Huddersfield University professor of psychiatry for older adults, criticised councils for not raising awareness among the people affected. He said: “Research by MoneySavingExpert.com has shown a massive variation in the number claiming this entitlement in different council areas with as few as 10 or 11 residents claiming in some areas, but over 420 in other areas with equivalent populations."

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  • NHS England mental health guidance covers dementia-related topics

    NHS England mental health guidance covers dementia-related topics

    11.10.17 “Mental Health in Older People – A Practice Primer” is a new guidance document produced by NHS England with support from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Geriatrics Society and the Royal College of GPs. It covers important dementia-related topics such as delirium and distinguishing dementia from depression. Dementia specialists such as Alastair Burns, national clinical director for dementia, and consultant old age psychiatrist Amanda Thompsell are among the authors. The guide is particularly aimed at GPs and other professionals who “risk attributing symptoms to ‘old age’ or considering the patients’ situation as futile” and is available HERE. There is also a new 6-minute animated video for allied health professionals, carers and patients about depression in older people at www.rcpsych.ac.uk

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  • Big cash boost helps more people with dementia to be physically active

    Big cash boost helps more people with dementia to be physically active

    09.10.17 A cash boost to encourage older adults with dementia to be more active has been awarded to the Sporting Memories Network (SMN). SMN co-founder Tony Jameson-Allen said the new funding of nearly half-a-million pounds from Sport England would enable the charity to significantly expand the range and availability of sports and physical activities for people with dementia and their carers. SMN works with communities and organisations to promote mental and physical wellbeing among people over 50, using sport to engage people who have dementia or depression or who are socially isolated. Sport England research suggests that 31% of people aged 65-74 and 49% aged 75-84 are inactive. Mike Diaper, Sport England executive director, said: “Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age.”

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  • E-Newsletter 6 October 2017

    E-Newsletter 6 October 2017

    I am delighted to bring you my week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment, including top-stories on alternatives to antipsychotics, The Commission on Dementia and Music and the NHS' new mental health guidance document. It is an editors selection which I hope you will enjoy.

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  • Call for taxi drivers to show sensitivity to people with dementia

    Call for taxi drivers to show sensitivity to people with dementia

    29.09.17 Taxi drivers could improve their service by showing more sensitivity to the needs of people with dementia, says a report from Rica, a consumer research charity that works with older and disabled people. Research participants, all from Camden Mind’s Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP), agreed recommendations based on their own experience which would help taxi firms improve the booking process and the journey itself. They wanted drivers and vehicles to be clearly identified by booking staff and by the driver when picking up; booking staff and drivers to check whether assistance was needed; and greater awareness of the needs of people with dementia, such as having the same driver where possible and consideration of passengers’ mood before engaging them in conversation. Innovations in Dementia also supported the research. For the report go to http://bit.ly/Ricadementiaresearch

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  • Dementia awareness training does nothing to improve hospital care

    Dementia awareness training does nothing to improve hospital care

    28.09.17 A study of dementia-friendly interventions to improve the care of people with dementia in hospitals finds that dementia awareness training on its own is not enough to improve dementia care. Published in BMJ Open, the University of Hertfordshire study found that changes to care practices resulted when staff understood the behaviours of people with dementia as communication of an unmet need and recognised and valued their role in providing care. The authors conclude that a key ingredient of better care is that staff are supported to implement their learning by senior team members with dementia expertise. Article HERE

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  • Research backs need for new singing and music resources

    Research backs need for new singing and music resources

    27.09.17 “A Choir in Every Care Home” is a new set of free resources to help care home residents benefit from engaging in music and singing. The new resources include videos and toolkits to assist both care homes and musicians in mounting higher quality singing events. It is the result of a national collaboration by 35 care organisations, including the Care Quality Commission and care home providers, which has been led by Live Music Now. The collaboration has also produced research demonstrating the benefits of music in care home settings. Professor Stephen Clift said: “Taken as a whole, research on group singing for older people shows convincingly that singing can be beneficial for psychological and social wellbeing, and that it may be helpful in helping people to manage a wide range of health issues.” For the resources and research click HERE

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  • Dementia global plan gets boost on World Alzheimer’s Day

    Dementia global plan gets boost on World Alzheimer’s Day

    26.09.17 New materials supporting the global plan on dementia were launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21). An infographic on the global impact of dementia is now available along with factsheets on the importance of the global plan for civil society, policy makers, health and social care professionals and people living with dementia. The global plan, which has been endorsed by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), was published earlier this year and adopted unanimously by the WHO’s World Health Assembly. It sets targets for improving dementia understanding, care and science worldwide. “The publication of these materials on World Alzheimer’s Day is a timely reminder that governments must act now to address dementia in every country,” said ADI chief executive Paola Barbarino. Links to the new materials and the global plan are HERE

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  • More specialist support needed for people dying with dementia

    More specialist support needed for people dying with dementia

    25.09.17 People in the advanced stages of dementia receive little support from specialist professionals such as old age psychiatrists and geriatricians in the last weeks of life, researchers have found. Emergency paramedics and GPs were much more likely to be involved, according to research from the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department, which found that 96% of people with advanced dementia saw a GP in the last month of life. Less than a third (28%) were seen by a palliative team that could have assisted with symptom management. Dr Liz Sampson, reader in the department at University College London, said health services were not tailored to the complex needs and symptoms of people with advanced dementia. “Complex symptoms require active specialist intervention, multidisciplinary working and effective care coordination but many GPs are not supported by these services and feel that they do not have the time or knowledge to do this themselves,” she said.

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