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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2010): Care of the elderly - UK

Dementia: 'if we win the election ...'

V. Pitt

Community Care, Apr. 29th 2010, p. 14-15

In the light of the UK general election of May 2010, the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties present an overview of their policies on dementia, focusing on research funding, use of antipsychotic drugs, the national dementia strategy, dementia as an NHS priority, and spending cuts.

Improving dementia services in England: an interim report

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2010 (House of Commons papers, session 2009/10; HC 321)

People with dementia require a complex mix of health and social care with patients regularly moving across organisational boundaries. The effectiveness of care depends on co-ordination and co-operation between the NHS; social services; care homes; and the voluntary sector. Stigma and negative attitudes towards mental illness and old age further exacerbate the problem. Dementia costs 8.2 billion a year in direct health and social care costs but much of this spend is in response to crisis, in the later stages of the disease. In February 2009 the Department of Health (the Department) launched an ambitious and comprehensive five-year National Dementia Strategy aimed at helping people to live well with dementia. However, in practice, the Department has failed to match its commitments to raise the quality and priority of dementia care with a robust approach to implementation. The report recommends that the Department should give dementia the same status as other national priorities such as cancer and stroke.

It's not just about the costs of care

D. Hewitt

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol.9, issue 1, 2010, p. 40-42

The Labour government in power in early 2010 announced plans for the development of a National Care Service. The impetus behind this initiative was an appreciation of the impact of population ageing, and the fact that social care law is currently complex, contradictory and confusing. New legislation will be required if the National Care Service is ever created.

Older people's mental health needs

J. Ogden

Mental Health Today, May 2010, p. 20-22

This article provides an overview of the impact of depression and dementia on older people, and of government policy responses to these issues, focusing on the five-year national dementia strategy launched in February 2009.

A Pearl of a dementia scheme

N. Valios

Community Care, Apr. 29th 2010, p. 24-25

The overuse of antipsychotic drugs to control the challenging behaviour exhibited by some people with dementia remains a problem in care homes. This article describes a person-centred approach to dementia care introduced by Four Seasons Health Care homes which has successfully reduced drug use and distress levels among residents.

Providing the skills for dementia care

J. Griffiths

Community Care, Apr. 15th 2010, p. 22-23

Experts agree that better training of social care staff in dementia would improve the client experience and reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs in care homes. However, training is expensive and of variable quality and many care home owners are reluctant to invest in it.

Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity (SPARC)

P. Lansley (guest editor)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, vol.11, Mar. 2010, p. 2-59

Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity (SPARC) was a four-year programme to support and encourage newcomers to ageing research, to publicise the outcomes of ageing research to all stakeholders, and to lobby policymakers about the value of ageing research. This article showcases what some of the SPARC projects have achieved, often with minimal funding, focusing on mobility in later life and fear of crime among older people.

When practical help is valued so much by older people, why do professionals fail to recognise its value?

T. Brannelly and B. Matthews

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.18, Apr. 2010, p. 33-40

Older people want to stay in their own homes and need the support of services to achieve this. Part of the help that older people need is practical, for example in maintaining their home and keeping it safe and secure. This article draws on an evaluation of a handyperson service offered by a non-governmental organisation in Birmingham which augments health and social services provision to enable frail older people to remain living at home. Given current financial constraints, such low-level, preventative services are currently given lower priority by professionals than crisis interventions.

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