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  • Digital project to assist care providers with tech innovation

    Digital project to assist care providers with tech innovation

    28.08.20 A digital project launched by the National Care Forum (NCF) will help care providers understand the benefits of technology, how to build a business case for investment and how to successfully introduce, use and evaluate technology. The Hubble Project, for which NCF has received funding from NHS Digital’s Digital Pathfinders Programme, will allow virtual visits to digital “innovation hubs”, so that care providers can learn from other care providers who have made innovative use of the technology. “These are warts-and-all sessions, where care providers will share the lessons they have learned,” said NCF chief executive Vic Rayner. “Our virtual visitors will also have access to a wide range of resources after the visits, including a toolkit to support building a business case, getting buy-in, and implementation. And the tech suppliers featured during the sessions are also offering participants a time-limited reduction on the cost of their technology.”

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  • People with dementia prioritise staying connected and keeping active

    People with dementia prioritise staying connected and keeping active

    27.08.20 A Norwegian study, in which 35 people with dementia were interviewed about their needs in order to facilitate their involvement in services, finds that their three greatest needs were to stay connected, be active and participate, and to live for the moment. The study, reported in BMJ Open, also identifies an overarching theme: “the need to be who I am”. The authors conclude: “People with dementia participating in the study were heterogeneous regarding wants and requirements. Most of them expressed the need and wish to hold on to who they are. Close and robust relations with family and friends can give significant support to people with dementia. However, living with dementia might put considerable strain on relations. Services should provide support to enhance relationships, encourage existing networks to remain stable and facilitate participation in meaningful activities." Link here

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  • Research to provide evidence for home care

    Research to provide evidence for home care

    26.08.20 A three-year research project looking at home care for people with dementia, among other things, has been launched in a partnership between Home Instead Senior Care and the University of York. The programme, which is seeking a research fellow to lead it, will work with Home Instead home care teams across the UK to amass an evidence base for what works in the provision of person-centred care. “Particularly in a post-pandemic world we have seen the vitally important role that being cared for in your own home environment can make in the quality of care provided to our vulnerable seniors,” said Mark Laing, Home Instead’s director of innovation. “The three-year research partnership will provide the social care sector with an evidence-based view of home care, helping to shape what home care looks like in the future."

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  • Risk of 'abuse and fraud' as we move toward cashless society

    Risk of 'abuse and fraud' as we move toward cashless society

    25.08.20 International Longevity Centre UK director David Sinclair writes in a blog on the subject of dementia and personal finance, claiming that “unless we act quickly the changes in the way we manage money, from the ‘end of cash’ to post office and bank closures, risk the financial wellbeing of people with dementia.” He says that coronavirus will only accelerate the process, raising problems with access to cash and managing electronic payments, abuse and fraud, problems with money management and overspending or underspending. “People living with dementia are particularly likely to need protection and support when faced with unscrupulous business practices from ‘sharp’ or aggressive selling to consumer fraud,” Sinclair writes.
    Link here

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  • Coronavirus continues to impact on dementia charities

    Coronavirus continues to impact on dementia charities

    24.08.20 Life Changes Trust has become one of the latest charities involved with dementia to have suffered from the adverse effects of coronavirus. According to Third Force News, the Scottish charity will close a year early due to the pandemic. It was already understood that other impacts from the pandemic could include up to 300 redundancies at Alzheimer’s Society, which has predicted lost income of £45 miliion, and an unspecified number of redundancies at Age UK. Life Changes Trust, set up in 2013 with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, supports people with dementia, unpaid carers and young people with care experience. It was due to run until 2023 but will now wind up operations in March 2022 to make savings in some areas and increase funding to its beneficiaries in the meantime.

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  • Non-medical prescribers cut delays and respond rapidly to need

    Non-medical prescribers cut delays and respond rapidly to need

    21.08.20 Royal Star & Garter care homes have brought the ability to prescribe medications “in-house” by supporting two of their staff to train as non-medical prescribers. Lead nurse Yuriy Bukovych and lead physiotherapist Maddie Venkatesh qualified in July and are now able to provide a rapid on-site response to residents’ health needs, avoiding delays caused by having to wait for GP prescriptions. Pauline Shaw, director of care at Royal Star & Garter, congratulated Maddie and Yuriy, and said: “The benefits of having non-medical prescribers in a care home setting are clear to see. Not only do residents benefit from speedier access to medication, but it cuts out red tape and eases the pressure on prescribers, such as GPs. It is our intention to have non-medical prescribers in all of our homes.”

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  • Care home group launches “controlled admissions suite”

    Care home group launches “controlled admissions suite”

    20.08.20 Vida Healthcare has launched a “controlled admissions suite” so that new residents can be admitted “without jeopardising the health of current residents and staff.” New residents are tested for Covid-19 before arriving and receive care for a “quarantine period” before transferring to the main area of the care home. Launched at Vida Grange care home in July, the suite can hold up to 10 residents and has a permanent team of six staff offering round-the-clock care. “It was key for us to develop an initiative which enabled us to pick back up with our admissions process, and offer high quality care to more vulnerable people,” said healthcare director Bernadette Mossman.

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  • Next steps as diagnosis rates and memory service referrals fall

    Next steps as diagnosis rates and memory service referrals fall

    19.08.20 Following a fall in dementia diagnosis rates and memory service referrals during the pandemic, Alzheimer’s Society analyses the consequences in an extended comment piece on its website. Diagnosis rates fell from 67.6% to 63.5% between February and June, while memory service referrals plummeted from an average of 2,600 a month to well below 1,000. The Society calls for routine screening to be re-prioritised, proactive case finding by primary care professionals, measures to combat lengthening waiting lists for memory services and good access to post-diagnostic support.

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  • Face-to-face visits are “priority” as some residents “feel abandoned”

    Face-to-face visits are “priority” as some residents “feel abandoned”

    18.08.20 The BBC reports from Merseyside on how restrictions on family visits have led some care home residents with dementia to “feel abandoned”. One woman tells the BBC about the “shocking” decline in her 90-year-old mother, who lives at Community Integrated Care’s (CIC) Kemp Lodge care home in Sefton: “People living in the home don’t understand the pandemic - they think their families have abandoned them [or] don’t love them any more.” Another relative of a resident there says: “We try to talk to her through the window but… she is hard of hearing and she doesn’t understand.” Describing the problem as “possibly the most difficult aspect of this crisis,” CIC managing director Martin McGuigan said bringing back face-to-face visits was a priority, but he added: “We need to be exceptionally careful and considered in how we reintroduce family visits to our homes.”

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  • Concerns about excess deaths in the community

    Concerns about excess deaths in the community

    17.08.20 In a blog for the BMJ, Sarah Deeny and Phoebe Dunn draw attention to the effect of the pandemic on social care recipients in the community. “We do know that 4,500 additional deaths of domiciliary care users have been reported so far, a greater proportional increase in deaths than in care homes (225% compared to 208%),” they write. “Worryingly, up until 19 June, which is the most recent data available, the excess deaths reported among domiciliary care users had not returned to average levels.” The authors speculate that some of the excess deaths may be due to unmet need for health and social care, but add: “Unlike residents of care homes, we don’t even have simple information on the age or causes of death of those affected.

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