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  • Call to reinstate dementia services as wellbeing plummets

    Call to reinstate dementia services as wellbeing plummets

    07.10.20 Dementia support services closed because of Covid-19 should be reinstated to prevent a costly rise in hospital admissions, a Liverpool University study claims. A survey conducted as part of the study, which also involves Bradford University, discovered increased levels of anxiety in people with dementia and older adults, as well as lower levels of mental wellbeing among unpaid carers. It highlights closures to vital support services, such as day care centres and support groups, which it says have taken a “huge toll” on the mental wellbeing of people with dementia and their carers. It adds that support services should be restored to pre-pandemic levels, otherwise health and social care could be “overburdened with increased rates of cost-intensive care home admissions and healthcare visits.” Article here

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  • Carers do 92 million extra caring hours

    Carers do 92 million extra caring hours

    06.10.20 A report from Alzheimer’s Society finds that family and friends have spent an additional 92 million hours caring for people with dementia since lockdown began. It says lockdown resulted in a “double whammy” because dementia symptoms worsened while underfunded social care left families out in the cold. “The tens of thousands of deaths of people with dementia – and the grieving families each one has left behind - must make us pause,” said Alzheimer’s Society CEO Kate Lee. “I know if social care had been on an equal footing with the NHS, we would not have seen deaths on such a scale. The government must never abandon families with dementia again. Lessons must be learned to prevent any further tragedy this winter.” Alzheimer’s Society has called on the government to develop a clear strategy for helping people affected by dementia recover from the effects of the pandemic and to allow at least one informal carer per care home resident to be a designated key worker.

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  • NHS issues guidance on dementia wellbeing during pandemic

    NHS issues guidance on dementia wellbeing during pandemic

    05.10.20 Guidance from the NHS, “Dementia wellbeing in the Covid-19 pandemic”, is primarily for clinicians working with people with dementia, although it can be used by family carers and people with dementia themselves. It sets out adjustments and amendments to the dementia wellbeing pathway which are needed in response to the pandemic, highlighting priorities and actions for each step of the pathway. The guidelines can be found here

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  • 127,000 people sign petition for 'basic human right'

    127,000 people sign petition for 'basic human right'

    05.10.20 A group called “rightsforresidents” said more than 127,000 people had signed its petition in favour of allowing family visits by last Friday. Responding to the tweet on #rightsforresidents, Alzheimer’s Society CEO Kate Lee said: “I can’t stress strongly enough how vital it is for residents to be given the basic human right of visits from people that love them. Our new @alzheimerssoc report clearly evidences that without it people are giving up hope. Please help us and @rightsforresid2 keep up pressure.”

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  • Legal action on care home family visits after talks collapse

    Legal action on care home family visits after talks collapse

    03.10.20 Legal action on family visits to care homes is to be taken after talks with the government collapsed this week. John’s Campaign, which has been campaigning to give family members keyworker status so that they have easier access to relatives in care homes, said the government had refused to listen to its lawyers’ arguments. Campaigners now plan to press ahead with a judicial review of the government’s guidance on visits, which they regard as unduly restrictive and an infringement of human rights. “Our lawyers have decided that there's nothing to be gained by further negotiation -- except wasting more time for families,” said John’s Campaign co-founder Julia Jones. “We remain profoundly shocked by the lack of interest by government in understanding the impact of their actions on care home residents - especially those living with dementia - and their families. We can't imagine any other group in society being treated in this way.”

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  • E-Newsletter 2 Oct 2020

    E-Newsletter 2 Oct 2020

    Here is this week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include an update on legal action on care home family visits and updated NHS guidance on dementia wellbeing during the pandemicl. It is an editor's selection which we hope you will enjoy.

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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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