Cooper, C. et al. Age Ageing. Published online: December 4 2016
Background: UK Dementia Strategies prioritise fair access to mental and physical healthcare. We investigated whether there are inequalities by deprivation or gender in healthcare received by people with dementia, and compared healthcare received by people with and without dementia.
Conclusions: people with dementia, in particular women, appear to receive less primary healthcare, but take more psychotropic medication that may negatively impact their physical health. Reducing these inequalities and improving access of people with dementia to preventative healthcare could improve the health of people with dementia.
How many carers?: The 2011 Census found that 6.5 million people in the UK were providing unpaid care. This represents 10.3% of the UK population, roughly the same proportion as reported in the 2001 Census although the absolute number has increased by around 625,000.
Contribution made by carers: Research commissioned by Carers UK and published in November 2015 estimated that 1.4 million people were providing 50 or more carer hours a week for a partner, friend or family member in the UK. As such they made a significant contribution to society and the NHS. The NHS has acknowledged this contribution, saying that it was “critical and underappreciated … not only to loved ones, neighbours and friends, but to the very sustainability of the NHS in England”
This report explores how five local councils across England went about understanding the mental health needs of their communities, and taking action to meet them more effectively.
The report finds that JSNAs for mental health and dementia can help to direct investment, improve services and help local agencies work together more effectively. To have the biggest impact, they need a clear purpose, effective leadership and advocacy, and partnerships that continue after the JSNA is completed to ensure that they lead to action.
Report author Andy Bell highlights eight key success factors behind the creation of an effective and impactful needs assessment:
In a hopeful sign for the health of the nation’s brains, the percentage of American seniors with dementia is dropping, a new study finds | ScienceDaily
The downward trend has emerged despite something else the study shows: a rising tide of three factors that are thought to raise dementia risk by interfering with brain blood flow, namely diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Those with the most years of education had the lowest chances of developing dementia, according to the findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine by a team from the University of Michigan. This may help explain the larger trend, because today’s seniors are more likely to have at least a high school diploma than those in the same age range a decade ago.
With the largest generation in American history now entering the prime years for dementia onset, the new results add to a growing number of recent studies in the United States and other countries that suggest a downward trend in dementia prevalence. These findings may help policy-makers and economic forecasters adjust their predictions for the total impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.
Only 2% of people affected by dementia say homecare workers have enough dementia training. | Alzheimer’s Society
An Alzheimer’s Society investigation has exposed a vicious cycle where a lack of dementia training for homecare workers results in intolerable stress for people with dementia, families and carers – and for the homecare workers themselves.
Poor quality homecare is leaving too many people with dementia spending the day in soiled clothing, going without food or water, or ending up in costly hospital or care home admissions when they could have stayed at home, where they want to be, for longer.
The investigation involved a survey of homecare workers with Unison, research into the sector with Skills for Care, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to all local authorities in England, and a survey of over 1220 people affected by dementia to gather first-hand testimonies about homecare.
Key findings from the survey of over 1220 people affected by dementia include:
Only 2% of people affected by dementia say homecare workers ‘have enough dementia training
Half (49%) of people affected by dementia do not think that ‘homecare workers understand the specific needs of people with dementia’
More than a third (38%) of people affected by dementia do not think that ‘homecare workers know how to treat people with dementia with understanding and dignity
Objectives: Qualitative research has suggested that spousal experiences of discontinuity in their relationship with a person who has dementia (i.e. the relationship is experienced as radically changed) may contribute to heightened feelings of burden, entrapment, isolation, guilt and intolerance of behaviours that challenge.
By contrast, continuity in the relationship may contribute to a greater sense of achievement and gratification from providing care. The present study served as a quantitative test of these suggestions.
Method: A convenience sample of 71 spouses of people with dementia completed three questionnaires – the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), the Positive Aspects of Caregiving measure (PAC) and the Birmingham Relationship Continuity Measure (BRCM).
Results: In accordance with the hypotheses, the experience of greater relationship continuity (higher BRCM scores) was correlated with fewer negative emotional reactions to caregiving (lower ZBI scores; rho = −.795) and more positive emotional reactions (higher PAC scores; rho = .764).
Conclusions: The study provided some quantitative support for suggestions arising from qualitative research about how perceptions of continuity/discontinuity in the relationship may impact on the caregiving spouse’s emotional well-being. Helping couples to maintain a sense of continuity and couplehood may assist their emotional adjustment to dementia.
Delirium in older adults often goes unrecognised by health care professionals and can be poorly managed. This video was produced with the aim of improving recognition and management of delirium in any healthcare setting.
The producers encourage this tool to be used as a resource for information or training about delirium, whether you are a health care professional, a family member or a caregiver for someone at risk of delirium.
The following report, put together by the British Psychological Society Dementia Advisory Group, presents a psychological perspective on the nature and experience of dementia
As well as outlining the roles and contributions of psychologists in the field of dementia care (particularly in supporting a move towards addressing dementia not only in terms of the underlying disease but also in considering the practical dimensions of social and cognitive disability associated with it), this report presents recommendations for action in the following areas:
Planning of care
Treatment and support
Dealing efectively and appropriately with families and carers
Training and research
These recommendations were produced in consultation with people experiencing dementia, their families, and their carers, in order to present a truly person-centred approach to dementia treatment and management in the UK.
Iranian researchers appear to have discovered minor improvements in the symptoms of elderly people with severe Alzheimer’s Disease, associated with the regular consumption of probiotic drinks. The effects of probiotics on biomarkers for inflammation and metabolism were also investigated. More research is required before drawing firm conclusions.
When did you last see a ‘twiddlemuff’? Delegates at a recent emergency and nursing trauma care conference in Barcelona, reported in Emergency Nurse, were told that brightly decorated twiddlemuffs, also known as fiddle mitts, had improved life for dementia patients