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  • Smartphone app responds to falling dementia diagnosis rates

    Smartphone app responds to falling dementia diagnosis rates

    02.10.20 A dementia screening app is due to be rolled out next month in a bid to help counter the fall in diagnosis rates during the pandemic. The smartphone app, called Mindset, is the brainchild of a team of frontline doctors and medical students who developed it in their spare time, says the London Evening Standard. According to the BMJ, as many as 62% of people with dementia are going undiagnosed, in stark contrast to official diagnosis rates of 67% prior to the pandemic. The app will allow patients to answer a series of questions and complete cognitive exercises similar to those administered by doctors in face-to-face consultations.

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  • Report investigates impact of pain on stress and distress

    Report investigates impact of pain on stress and distress

    01.10.20 A report investigating the relationship between pain and dementia has been produced by the pain assessment company PainChek. It looks at how pain affects behaviour, the main challenges in assessing pain and how these can be overcome. “At least 50% of people living with dementia in the UK’s 18.000 care and residential homes regularly experience pain,” said PainChek chief scientific officer Professor Jeff Hughes. The report says that effectively assessing pain ensures that the root cause of behaviours can be identified, ensuring residents are given the most appropriate and effective treatments. A study of 169 patients showed that 29% of pain episodes did not result in any documentation concerning that resident’s pain. Report here

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  • Trial programme shows 'positive effects' of music

    Trial programme shows 'positive effects' of music

    30.09.20 Recommendations from an Australian research project outline how music can be used systematically as a first line response to stress and distress behaviours among people with dementia. In a new paper, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (vol 77 issue 1), researchers from Western Sydney University give details of a trial programme which looked at the effect of music on people with dementia receiving social care support. Lead researcher Dr Sandra Garrido said it examined how music could be utilised in standardised yet individually tailored ways. "We wanted to dig deeper to find out more about how individual symptoms might be interacting with different features of music—such as the tempo, or the lyrics, or the mode—so that we could develop a standardised way that music could be used for people with dementia," said Dr Garrido. Click here

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  • Local authorities are 'lynchpin' for keeping families connected

    Local authorities are 'lynchpin' for keeping families connected

    29.09.20 Alzheimer’s Society has called on local authorities to take the lead in connecting families where a relative with dementia is living in a care home. Local councils were the “lynchpin” for facilitating care home visits, the Society said, and were best placed to work with care homes and residents in finding an approach that met individual needs. “As we continue to respond to the pandemic, risk of infection should only be one part of the conversation care homes are having with family and friends carers,” the Society said. “We know that infection control is of paramount importance, but meaningful contact with loved ones helps people living with dementia to feel secure and improve anxiety and mood. We cannot accept a blanket approach to care home visits. This is not working for people affected by dementia and, in many cases, is contributing to deterioration in the symptoms.”

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  • Social care winter plan 'should not lead to blanket lockdown'

    Social care winter plan 'should not lead to blanket lockdown'

    28.09.20 Leading charities have insisted that the government’s new social care winter plan should not lead to a blanket lockdown in care homes. In a joint blog Age UK and the National Care Forum (NCF) say that the plan does not ban care home visits by residents’ relatives but “gets awfully close to it”. They point out that in government “areas of intervention,” mostly now in the north of England, there is already a blanket lockdown covering nearly 20% of care homes, meaning no visits can take place. “That is to say nothing of the many more hundreds of thousands of people impacted by homes being in localised lockdowns through the decision of their director of public health, as a result of being in areas which are on a [Public Health England] watchlist,” Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams and NCF director Vic Rayner say. Link here

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  • E-Newsletter - 25 Sept 2020

    E-Newsletter - 25 Sept 2020

    Here is this week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include an update on Covid-19 and two research projects showing the effect on stress and distress of music and pain. It is an editor's selection which we hope you will enjoy.

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  • Every Small Step counts in walking challenge for dementia carers

    Every Small Step counts in walking challenge for dementia carers

    25.09.20 The charity Dementia Carers Count has set a walking challenge to raise funds and give more prominence to the lives and experiences of family and friends caring for someone with dementia. It is hoped that enough people will take part in the “Every Small Step” initiative, walking anything from 100 to 10,000 steps each, to reach a cumulative total of 700,000 steps, which is one step for every dementia carer in the country. On every day of the event, which runs from 18 - 22 October, a specially recorded podcast will be released featuring carers, public figures, healthcare professionals and others. To register and take part, click here

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  • Campaign highlights support for LGBT+ people and carers

    Campaign highlights support for LGBT+ people and carers

    24.09.20 To mark World Alzheimer’s Month and Dementia Carers Day (13 September), Opening Doors London (ODL) has launched a social media campaign highlighting the work of the ODL Rainbow Memory Café and the new online Rainbow Carers group. These groups support LGBT+ people with dementia and carers. Highlights of the campaign include a series of video interviews explaining the value of tailored support for LGBT+ people affected by dementia and a blog by a member describing the experience of caring for his partner with dementia during lockdown. More info here

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  • BBC Music Memories launches playlist

    BBC Music Memories launches playlist

    23.09.20 A BBC World Service Music Memories project has launched with the aim of starting a “global conversation” to help trigger the memories of people with dementia. Rolled out to coincide with World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 Sept, an international playlist has been compiled with contributions from numerous countries all the way from Afghanistan to Argentina. The initiative is hosted on the BBC Music Memories website, which offers thousands of free music clips to stimulate the memory. More info here

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  • Extra nursing staff should be allocated to care homes, Society says

    Extra nursing staff should be allocated to care homes, Society says

    22.09.20 With care homes “once again closing their doors” amid a new upsurge in coronavirus cases, Alzheimer’s Society said steps should be taken to ensure families could still visit relatives in care homes. While the Society said the government’s adult social care winter plan was “positive”, it added that the proposals needed to go further by allocating nursing staff to individual care homes throughout the pandemic. “Despite best efforts from hardworking care staff, over a quarter of all Covid-19 deaths have been people with dementia, and the rise in care home infections that we’re now seeing - even though there has been little lifting of restrictions on those homes - is extremely concerning,” said Fiona Carragher, director of research and influencing at the charity. “We must make sure people with dementia are not cut off from vital visits from their loved ones."

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