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  • Anticholinergic drugs 'significantly increase' mortality risk

    Anticholinergic drugs 'significantly increase' mortality risk

    11.11.20 A university study finds that anticholinergic drugs significantly increase the risk of death in people with dementia. Commonly used to treat urinary incontinence, allergies and depression, anticholinergics like Diazepam and risperidone were regularly prescribed for some people with dementia and researchers calculated an overall “anticholinergic burden” for each person as a measure of their cumulative effect. Looking at data for 25,418 people with dementia who were prescribed at least one dementia management medication between 2010 and 2016, they found that only 15% had no anticholinergic burden. Anticholinergic drugs for respiratory and urological conditions in particular increased mortality rates among people with dementia, researchers said.

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  • Major disruption to hospital care

    Major disruption to hospital care

    10.11.20 An audit of hospital dementia services released by the Royal College of Psychiatrists indicates widespread disruption during the pandemic, with 49% of dementia leads surveyed reporting that dementia strategies and projects had been suspended. In terms of visiting and family contact, 90% of family carers questioned in the audit said they were not allowed to visit the person they cared for, while 43% responded that they were given no explanation about visiting procedures. Although 91 hospital leads said new methods had been introduced to communicate with carers using technology or liaison teams, six comments from carers said staff could not help with phone calls with the person with dementia or that the system did not work well for them. Report here here

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  • Last chance to get tickets for UK Dementia Congress this week

    Last chance to get tickets for UK Dementia Congress this week

    Among the highlights of our packed programme are a live webinar on Tuesday (2pm) chaired by Professor Dawn Brooker entitled “Tales of the unexpected: What has mattered for people living with dementia in the time of Covid?” It includes a wide variety of speakers from the dementia care community and viewers will be able to ask questions and make comments during the panel discussions. On Wednesday (10am) there will be talks by Alzheimer’s Society CEO Kate Lee, Alzheimer’s Disease International CEO Paola Barbarino, care minister Helen Whately and members of DEEP and tide. It includes a live Q&A with Kate and Paola at 12 noon. At 2.30pm the Tom Kitwood Memorial Address will be given by Jackie Pool and Professor Linda Clare with a live Q&A chaired by Professor Graham Stokes at 3.30pm. And, on Thursday, Professor James Warner will be giving an update on medical and scientific advances in the treatment of dementia, followed by a live Q&A chaired by Nori Graham.

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  • Guidance intended to protect people will kill them instead, Lee says

    Guidance intended to protect people will kill them instead, Lee says

    08.11.20 Having sent an open letter to health secretary Matt Hancock at the start of the week calling for more care home visits, campaigners reacted angrily when new guidance emerged on Wednesday. Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Kate Lee said she was “devastated” by the guidance, which she claimed completely missed the point because “this attempt to protect people will kill them.” Lee added: “Thousands of people with dementia have died during lockdown – by far the highest increase in deaths for any condition - and our support line is inundated with distraught families reporting the damaging side effects of isolation on their loved ones. The prison-style screens the government proposes – with people speaking through phones – are frankly ridiculous when you consider someone with advanced dementia can often be bed-bound and struggling to speak. They won’t understand and will be distressed by what’s going on around them.”

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  • Government issues lockdown guidance on care home visits

    Government issues lockdown guidance on care home visits

    06.11.20 New government guidance tried to strike a conciliatory note on care home visits, but it failed to please campaigners who have called for visiting rights to be restored to residents’ relatives. The government said that under the guidance, which covers the latest lockdown, care homes would be “encouraged and supported” to provide safe visitng opportunities, “especially those who have not allowed visits since March.” It envisages floor-to-ceiling screens, visiting pods and window visits as ways to ensure that visits are covid-secure. In an apparent reference to a pilot scheme to allow more family visits by treating specific relatives like keyworkers, announced by care minister Helen Whately in October, the government said a “sector-led group” was set to initiate trials later this month. Guidance here

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  • E-Newsletter - 6 Nov 2020

    E-Newsletter - 6 Nov 2020

    Here is this week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include new government lockdown guidance on care home visits and the reaction by Alzheimer's Society.

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  • Dementia UK and YoungDementia UK merge into one charity

    Dementia UK and YoungDementia UK merge into one charity

    02.11.20 Dementia UK and YoungDementia UK have merged into one charity. The merger will strengthen both charities’ commitment to supporting people with young onset dementia. The merged charities will continue to operate under the name Dementia UK and aim to provide a stronger, unified, more influential voice for people living with and affected by young onset dementia. The service offering of both charities will continue unchanged for the time being, with the view to enhancing these services in the future. The Young Dementia Network and the Young Dementia Oxfordshire support offering will continue under their existing names.

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  • John's Campaign challenges visiting restrictions

    John's Campaign challenges visiting restrictions

    30.10.20 Urgent court proceedings to have government guidance on care home visits declared unlawful have been launched by John’s Campaign, which promotes contact between residents and family members. It says government guidance issued on 15 October is unlawful because it encourages care homes in areas of higher Covid-19 risk to place blanket bans on family visits. In papers applying for a judicial review of the guidance, John’s Campaign argues that the suspension of visits to care homes has had a catastrophic effect on residents, particularly those with dementia, including worsening symptoms and premature death. The application includes supporting evidence from Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Residents and Relatives Association and the UCL Dementia Research Centre.

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  • Vida boss gives overview of technology solutions in dementia care

    Vida boss gives overview of technology solutions in dementia care

    30.10.20 Vida Healthcare managing director James Rycroft offers his thoughts on technology solutions in dementia care following dramatic increases in technology investment across the sector during the pandemic. As head of the specialist dementia care provider, Rycroft discusses technology such as sensory equipment, exercise equipment combined with video and sound, video calling and a Family Team Talk app, among other things. Link here

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  • Sentai tech start-up claims breakthrough

    Sentai tech start-up claims breakthrough

    29.10.20 A technology start-up called Sentai is launching what it describes as a breakthrough in augmented voice technology to care for people in their own homes. A “smart” speaker - similar to Amazon Alexa but focused on care - uses algorithms to provide a person-centred response to the needs of the person, according to Sentai. For example, it can detect the mood of a person from their voice and centre responses around that, while providing timely prompts around important things such as medication. Also, equipped with sensors, it can monitor the person’s movements and can send alerts in emergencies. Due to be launched at the end of October, it costs £300 for the Sentai hub, two home sensors and two button clickers.

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