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  • Guidelines on stopping driving

    Guidelines on stopping driving

    20.12.18 Guidelines for clinicians on when a person with dementia should stop driving have been published by Newcastle University. While many people in the earlier stages of dementia can drive safely, there may come a time when this is no longer the case, the authors said. Dr John-Paul Taylor, who led development of the guidelines, commented: "This can be a difficult conversation for anyone to have, whether you're a family member or doctor, because losing the ability to drive can have a significant impact on someone's independence and wellbeing. However, someone who is no longer safe to drive can be a source of concern for families and loved ones, and may also put the driver and others at risk." Tim Beanland, Alzheimer’s Society, said an assessment of fitness to drive should be done in an open and fair way. Read the guidelines HERE

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  • Health professionals angry about BBC drama 'Care'

    Health professionals angry about BBC drama 'Care'

    19.12.18 While there was much praise for last week's BBC1 drama “Care”, starring Sheridan Smith as a single mum struggling with caring for her mother following a stroke and the onset of dementia, there was also some anger from health care professionals about how they were portrayed. One tweeted: “As a health professional who has cared for people who have had a stroke or suffered with dementia, I am mortified and disgusted with how the health professionals have been portrayed in the BBC1 programme Care – NHS staff are so much more than what this show is conveying.” Among the cast of characters were a particularly irritating OT and an uncaring hospital discharge coordinator. Another viewer tweeted: “Watching BBC One Care and utterly dismayed at how occupational therapists are being portrayed. That lady would never [have] been taken for an assessment like that considering how she was presenting on the ward. It’s horrible to watch how the health professionals are so cold!"

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  • Older people “face struggle” to get the care they need

    Older people “face struggle” to get the care they need

    18.12.18 There are “big gaps” between the care that older people need and the care available to them, and where they live has a “huge effect”, says the charity Coram Family and Childcare. In a new survey report, it finds that “millions of older people and their families face an ongoing struggle to get the care they need.” Only one in five local authorities have enough care to meet demand and more than 4.3 million people aged 75 and over live in areas where there is insufficient care to meet demand, it claims. “For many people, care services are simply unavailable. For others, it is unaffordable,” the report says, adding that the non-availability of care leads to “avoidable suffering, creates stress and worry for families, and often force[s] partners and families into looking after a loved one without much, if any, support.”

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  • Latest waiting time figures for NHS lead to bleak winter forecast

    Latest waiting time figures for NHS lead to bleak winter forecast

    17.12.18 As the latest monthly performance figures for NHS Trusts were published at the end of last week, another harsh winter for hospitals and their patients was predicted. Figures for November showed performance against the four-hour waiting time target in A&E slipping to its lowest level ever as record numbers of patients sought help. “Despite the extensive preparations by trusts, today’s figures make it very clear that the NHS is on course for a very difficult winter,” said Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts.

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  • E-Newsletter 14 Dec 2018

    E-Newsletter 14 Dec 2018

    I am delighted to bring you my week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include post-diagnostic support, guidelines on when people with dementia should stop driving and Bradford's Dementia Care Mapping tool. It is an editor's selection which I hope you will enjoy.

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  • People with young onset dementia co-design

    People with young onset dementia co-design

    14.12.18 Research findings from the University of Hertfordshire argue that the best way to improve services for people with young onset dementia (YOD) is to enable them to work closely with service providers on co-designing and co-ordinating support that is locally sustainable. People with YOD and their carers told researchers that charities and service centres could act as a catalyst for them to set up peer support groups as well as a safety net for those struggling to make connections. Michael Walker, who co-authored the paper, said attempts to recast services for older people as suitable for younger people had failed. “One challenge is the relatively small number of young people with dementia in a given locality, another is how to keep up a group of younger people with dementia when the original members may no longer be so young,” Walker said. “We need to look at how services can work together to ensure a consistency of service for those diagnosed with young onset dementia."

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  • David Cameron at World Dementia Council

    David Cameron at World Dementia Council

    13.12.18 Alzheimer’s Research UK president and ex-PM David Cameron called on world leaders to “keep up the pressure” in the fight against dementia at a World Dementia Council (WDC) meeting in London last week. Marking the fifth anniversary of the G8 summit on dementia, which Cameron hosted as prime minister, this week’s conference saw the launch of a WDC report challenging the international community to accelerate progress towards the goals on dementia agreed five years ago. Among those goals was to develop a disease-modifying therapy, improve care and increase dementia awareness by 2025. “Technology is key,” Cameron told the conference. “It has the potential to transform everything, from how we manage risk to how we deliver care. Big data can rapidly accelerate dementia research – not just biomedical research but care research as well.” Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, who also spoke, said the conference had brought together experts from across the world to “share succes

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  • Care professionals needed for short survey

    Care professionals needed for short survey

    12.12.18 Researchers at King’s College London (KCL) are looking for professionals in dementia care to complete a short online survey for a study exploring when might be the best time, if any, for people with dementia to move to a care home. The “Optimal Time Study” is important because many people with dementia and their carers are unsure about the “right time” for a move to a care home. The survey, which should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, asks professionals for views and opinions on seven short vignettes. Deadline for responses is 31 January 2019. To find out more, go to www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/policy-institute/scwru/res/nihr-sscr/optimaltime.aspx

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  • NICE issues antipsychotic medication note

    NICE issues antipsychotic medication note

    11.12.18 Antipsychotic medications should only be tried if a person with dementia is at risk of harming themselves or others, or if they are severely distressed, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in a new information note. The antipsychotic should be tried “alongside other activities to try to help their distress,” says NICE, which recommends first attempting to calm the person with things like music, exercise and aromatherapy. “The person should be assessed at least every six weeks and the antipsychotic should be stopped if it is not helping or is no longer needed,” it says. “The person does not have to have an antipsychotic. There are pros and cons...” The information note is intended to help people with dementia, family carers and their health professionals discuss the options. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng97/resources/antipsychotic-medicines-for-treating-agitation-aggression-and-distress-in-people-living-with-dementia-patient-decision-aid-pdf-4

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  • Mental Health Act review

    Mental Health Act review

    10.12.18 An independent review of the Mental Health Act has published recommendations calling for far more legal weight to be attached to the views and wishes of people detained under the legislation. Sally Copley, Alzheimer’s Society policy director, said “As it stands, there is no requirement to involve a person with dementia in decisions that affect their care,” Copley said. “Listening to a person in care should never be optional and it is incredibly alarming to hear of instances when decisions - including being sectioned - have been made without the person and their family knowing. Such actions dangerously enter into rights abuse, and we urgently need to provide clarity for people with dementia and their families, who are facing the added difficulty of an impenetrably complex system at a distressing time.” The independent review was commissioned by the government and led by Sir Simon Wessely, former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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