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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2009): Care of the elderly - UK

'Chemical cosh' for dementia patients

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 7th 2009, p. 16 + 27

A group of 10 leading charities, carers' groups and experts has claimed in a letter to the Daily Telegraph that dementia patients in hospitals are being routinely sedated with antipsychotic drugs if they become troublesome. In a survey of more than 1,000 nurses, three quarters said that dementia patients on general wards were often or always prescribed antipsychotic drugs which were known to double the risk of death and triple the risk of stroke.

Developing services for people with dementia

A. McDonald and B. Heath

Working with Older People, vol.13, Sept. 2009, p. 18-21

This study sought to explore the provision of services for people with dementia and their carers in three rural counties, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. It mapped services across the statutory, voluntary and private sectors and explored how national policy was being interpreted to meet local need. The provision of services is patchy and historically has not been strategically developed. To a large extent, the voluntary and community sector is filling gaps left by statutory agencies, as well as making a distinctive contribution at local level. The private sector is keen to develop capacity and work in partnership, but is in need of more proactive support to extend its coverage in hard-to-reach areas and to develop the skills of the workforce.

Drug errors put 70pc in homes at risk

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 6th 2009, p. 10

A study of 256 residents in 56 homes across England has shown that 70% were being given the wrong drugs due to staff overwork, poor training and inadequate team work. Patients were being given incorrect doses of their medication or drugs they did not need. Many were not monitored for side effects or went without their treatments.

How we can radically improve life for people with dementia

A. Chidgey

Working with Older People, vol.13, Sept. 2009, p. 15-17

As its prevalence increases, dementia is rising up the policy agenda. This article describes an approach which commissioners can take to planning an effective community response to dementia. Commissioners should:

  1. understand current local need
  2. understand the current care pathway and service quality
  3. decide on priorities for change
  4. develop a local implementation plan.

Rhetoric into reality: the journey towards becoming person-centred

S. Wyllie and V. Gains

Working with Older People, vol.13, Sept. 2009, p. 38-41

This article presents a case study of Barchester Healthcare's Memory Lane Communities approach to specialist care for people with dementia. The programme places the family at the heart of understanding the person with dementia as an individual. Based on this understanding, staff develop a care programme that supports the individual's strengths and increases well-being.

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