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  • Best practice guidance for end of life care for people with dementia

    Best practice guidance for end of life care for people with dementia

    22.11.18 Guidance on end of life care decision-making for people with dementia, described as a “synthesis of best practice”, has been produced by a London research team. The team from University College London and King’s College London has come up with four rules of thumb (“heuristics”), which can be used in care settings ranging from hospital to the community, to give guidance on routine care, agitation and restlessness, reviewing treatment and interventions, and eating/swallowing difficulties. According to the research team, the heuristics are easy to follow and act as a training aid for staff in care homes and other settings where they face challenges in caring for people with dementia at the end of life. “The rise of the condition is seeing an increased reliance on care homes and also acute care settings where clinical staff have less experience of palliation and end of life care,” said Dr Nathan Davies, who helped design the heuristics.

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  • Matt Hancock says 'social prescribing' can save money for the NHS

    Matt Hancock says 'social prescribing' can save money for the NHS

    21.11.18 Arts and social activities can help to move towards more person-centred care and focus on prevention as much as cure, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock told an audience in London last week. Calling for more “social prescribing” – in which medical professionals like GPs issue prescriptions for social activities rather than medicines – Hancock said it was scientifically proven that access to the arts and social activities improved mental and physical health. “The arts and social activities can help meet major challenges facing health and social care – ageing, loneliness, mental health and other long-term conditions," he said. "And [they] can help save money for the NHS and social care system.” Hancock referred to several arts initiatives around the country, including the Southbank Centre in London which is running a poetry course for people with dementia and their families overseen by practising poets.

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  • £20m funding boost for social care research

    £20m funding boost for social care research

    20.11.18 A £20 million funding boost for social care research will enable universities to strengthen their work on dementia care and support health and care systems with changing needs. The government money will be channelled over the next five years through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which will call for social care research proposals next summer. Seven university partners of NIHR’s School for Social Care Research will be among the beneficiaries, including two new partners, King’s College London (KCL) and the University of Birmingham. “We are delighted with this news, not just the level of investment but the ability to make a real difference to the evidence base for social care practice,” said Professor Jill Manthorpe, director of KCL’s Social Care Workforce Research Unit. “The new investment is particularly welcome as it brings money and opportunities to develop social care research skills and careers. We very much look forward to working with care users, famil

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  • Social care Green Paper may suggest new tax on over-40s

    Social care Green Paper may suggest new tax on over-40s

    19.11.18 Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has admitted being sympathetic to the idea of a new tax on the over-40s, including pensioners, to pay for social care. Possibly giving a glimpse of what will be in the government’s social care Green Paper, promised by the end of the year, Hancock told the Sunday Telegraph that he was “attracted to” the idea, which was first mooted in a joint report from House of Commons select committees in the summer. “I am impressed by the work of the select committees who have come up with a model that is adapted from what was introduced about 20 years ago in Germany, and it appears to be working there,” the newspaper quotes him as saying.

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  • E-Newsletter 16 Nov 2018

    E-Newsletter 16 Nov 2018

    I am delighted to bring you my week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include the social care Green Paper, social prescribing and best practice guidance on end of life care for people with dementia. It is an editor's selection which I hope you will enjoy.

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  • Dementia Friends initiative passes 2.7 million milestone

    Dementia Friends initiative passes 2.7 million milestone

    16.11.18 Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes announced at UK Dementia Congress last week that there are now 2.7 million Dementia Friends. “When we started in 2012, we agreed with the government that we’d get one million Dementia Friends and people said we’d never do it. In fact, numbers are increasing by 5,000 a week and the fact that we’ve got 2.7 million is quite remarkable.”

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  • Much DCM to improve care is wasted, research finds

    Much DCM to improve care is wasted, research finds

    15.11.18 Results from Dementia Care Mapping (DCM), an observation tool designed to improve the quality of care, were discussed in several UKDC presentations but how useful is DCM? Findings from the EPIC randomised controlled trial on the use of DCM in care homes suggest that the answer may be “not very”. In her talk, Professor Claire Surr from Leeds Beckett University said that the trial had worked with 50 care homes. But DCM was found to have no significant impact on the quality of care: it did not reduce levels of agitation, improve staff interactions or achieve reductions in antipsychotic drug use. “In the real world, if you give DCM to your average care home, they can’t implement it,” Surr said. “It might work in a few care homes, but in the average home they are struggling with the cultural context to actually do DCM.” She said that the future may lie in researcher-led DCM, which had been shown to be more successful.

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  • Keith Oliver on rights

    Keith Oliver on rights

    14.11.18 Among the most vocal contributors to the UKDC debate were people living with dementia, not least Keith Oliver, who described his visit to the United Nations in Geneva where he gave evidence on the rights of people with dementia. “I got the sense that we were on the first base of a steep and high ladder – the government had got legislation in place but simply weren’t using it,” he said. “The UN weren’t impressed by what the government was doing. Some action is taking place, but nowhere near enough.” In a separate session at UKDC, members of DEEP (pictured) who have dementia, spoke powerfully of being part of a social movement. “DEEP is empowering us as a network to make our voice heard locally and nationally.” DEEP member Dory paid tribute to dementia activist Trevor Jarvis, who died recently. “My mantra is that we’re all unique and beautiful but together we’re a masterpiece,” she said. “Thank you Trevor and rest peacefully.”

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  • Dementia goes unrecognised and undiagnosed in UK and world

    Dementia goes unrecognised and undiagnosed in UK and world

    13.11.18 Marked variation in diagnosis rates and recognition of dementia – in the UK and globally – came up more than one at UKDC. Care minister Caroline Dinenage (pictured) said that more consistent diagnosis rates in England and a solution to very low diagnosis rates for young onset dementia were two of the outstanding problems that still confronted the government’s 2020 Challenge on Dementia. Alzheimer’s Society’s Jeremy Hughes told UKDC that medical professionals in some areas were in denial. “There are still places that don’t recognise that dementia even exists,” he said. “In one place in Yorkshire I was told ‘we don’t have any dementia here.’” In her keynote speech on dementia globally, Alzheimer’s Disease International CEO Paola Barbarino said a minister in one country of 40 million people had told her that nobody there had dementia, while in another country of four million people she was informed that only 18 people had dementia.

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  • UK Dementia Congress: disability rights must prevail

    UK Dementia Congress: disability rights must prevail

    12.11.18 “People have been put in a position of being beggars for services and they still are,” said Philly Hare from the conference floor in a stormy opening debate at the UK Dementia Congress in Brighton this week. It was the 13th UK Dementia Congress (UKDC), organised by the Journal of Dementia Care, and the motion for the traditional launch debate was “the right to services is more important than disability rights for people with dementia,” but the overwhelming impression left by Congress visitors packed into the main hall was that the two go together: disability rights are a necessary condition of rights to services. Hare, director of social enterprise Innovations in Dementia, added: “If people with dementia get services, they are seen as passive recipients who have to have crumbs thrown their way. When they get their rights, they grow in confidence and self-esteem. There is a social movement for change happening right now.”

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