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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2005): Mental Health Services - UK

Communication and interaction within dementia care triads: developing a theory for relationship-centred care

T. Adams and P. Gardiner

Dementia, vol. 4, 2005, p. 185 - 205

Looking at the nature of dementia care triads (person with dementia, informal carer/s and health and social care professional/s), this study reviews previous work, and examines the interdependencies of caring relationships, revealing interactive communication processes which continually reconstruct the experience of people with dementia, and impact on the inclusion or exclusion of triad members. Provides theory and practice examples and discusses the implications of the approach.

Decision time

K. Leason

Community Care, May 5th-11th 2005, p.28-29

In the past people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and dementia have been prevented from making decisions about many aspects of their lives on the grounds that the professionals know best. This is set to change with the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This legislation starts from the premise that every adult should be assumed to be capable of making their own decisions unless it can be proved that they lack capacity. Implementing it will mean a cultural shift for health and social care staff. There will also be a growing role for independent advocates to represent the views of vulnerable people.

Developing a learning set within dementia care: a practice development project

T Adams and A Richardson

Dementia, vol. 4, 2005, p. 307 - 311

This "Innovative Practice" report looks at a participatory learning and knowledge sharing initiative to promote staff learning in dementia wards in the North West Surrey Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. Nurses appreciated the organized time, and the opportunity to consult specialists from outside and gain new ideas for difficult situations, acknowledged the importance of having full background/biographical information on patients and learnt the usefulness of the Dementia Care Learning Cycle.

The early identification of cognitive impairment: a stakeholder evaluation of a 'Dementia Awareness Service' in Belfast

D. Scott and M. Donnelly

Dementia, vol. 4, 2005, p. 207 - 232

Following accepted theory that early identification of dementia helps life planning and appropriate treatment, and motivated by a lack of information on delivery of this type of provision, this study evaluates Belfast's screening, assessment and referral service for people with early stage dementia. Drawing from experiences of clients, carers and professional stakeholders, this study looks at:

  • access to information
  • pathways and referral networks
  • assessments
  • the nature and level of service utilization
  • quality of life of clients and carers.

Health trust is fined after mentally ill patient kills nurse

J. Laurance

The Independent, May 6th 2005, p.14

An NHS trust has been fined for one of the most serious breaches of health and safety regulations after a psychiatric nurse was bludgeoned to death by a mentally ill patient. The South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust was blamed for a series of failures which led to the killing. It is the first case bought by the Health and Safety Executive against the NHS in which an NHS employee has died.

Key concepts in mental health

D. Pilgrim

London: Sage, 2005

This book provides a guide to the central topics and debates which shape contemporary views about mental health problems as an illness, and which govern the provision of services for people with mental health problems.

  • Part one examines the contested nature of mental health and mental health problems and includes traditional psychiatric descriptions, as well as criticisms of them
  • Part two focuses on mental health services, the ways in which mental health work is organized and the professional interests involved in service delivery
  • Part three addresses a range of topics related to mental health and society, and places mental health within its social context

The mental health of looked after children: matching response to need

N. Stanley, D. Riordan and H. Alaszewski

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.13, 2005, p.239-248

Study investigated the mental health needs of looked after children in two local authorities in the North of England and examined the service response. The children exhibited a wide range of disturbed behaviours, including aggression, tantrums, poor concentration, drug use, self harm and fire-raising. Unfortunately sustained input from child and adolescent mental health services appeared not to be targeted on the most needy. Article concludes that mental health professionals should focus more on training social workers, teachers and carers to manage these distressed children.

Mental health support needs of people with a learning difficulty: a medical or a social model?

V. Williams and P. Heslop

Disability and Society, vol.20, 2005, p.231-245

Argues that mental distress may be a response to life events rather than due to a chemical imbalance in the brain as suggested by the medical model. However, treatment of mental illness in people with learning difficulties has historically been based on a medical model and involved use of drugs. Concludes that mental ill health in this population should be tackled by the provision of person-centred support that enables individuals to be more in control of their own lives and by reducing the social disadvantages they face daily.

The National Audit of Violence (2003-2005): final report

Audit Team, Royal College of Psychiatrists' Research Unit

London: [2005]

The National Audit of Violence in mental health and learning disabilities inpatient services found that one in three service users had experienced violent or threatening behaviour while in care. Forty-one per cent of clinical staff and nearly 80% of nursing staff had also experienced violent or threatening behaviour. Audit makes recommendations on how violence in wards and units could be reduced. These include reduction of substance misuse by patients, reductions in staff vacancy levels and reliance on temporary staff, improved security, better training, and tackling patient boredom and overcrowding.

Planning for life: involving adults with learning disabilities in service planning

L. Concannon

Abingdon: Routledge, 2005

Can social care practitioners effectively involve people with learning disabilities in planning their services? Does user involvement for people with learning disabilities really benefit anyone? Policy and practice guidelines for working with people with learning disabilities state that users and carers must be consulted on the provision of services. However, whether this is useful of effective in practice has not yet been adequately considered. This book traces the development of services for people with learning disabilities and discusses how much things have really changed for today's 'service users' since the days of the asylums. It also assess whether the policy of involvement, such as that outlined in Valuing People, is achievable in practice or simply places unrealistic burdens on professionals and service users.

Safe but sound

E. Forrest

Health Service Journal, vol.115, May 19th 2005, p.26-28

Discusses the tension in the treatment of people with dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD) between the need to protect the public and the need to help the patients. There are concerns that current policies place the protection of the public above the therapeutic needs of the patient. Article goes on to consider the effectiveness of four pilot services for people with DSPD.

The story so far …Valuing People: a new strategy for learning disability for the 21st century

R. Greig

Valuing People Support Team, 2005

Reports that the Valuing People initiative is beginning to make a positive difference in the lives of those with learning difficulties. Information gathered for the review shows that people with learning disabilities are being listened to more, and that organisations are working together better at local level. The Supporting People programme is helping many more people with learning difficulties to live independently. Their lives are also being changed for the better by Direct Payments and person-centred planning. However, change has not happened for everyone because Valuing People is still seen as optional by many in the public services. Report calls on government to introduce punitive measures to force the adoption of pro-learning disabled people policies at local level.

Work related depression 'costs firms £100bn'

J. Carvel

The Guardian, May 18th 2005, p.5

Excessive stress at work is causing an epidemic of depression and anxiety, costing the British economy about £100bn a year in lost output, according to the mental health charity Mind. It published results of an investigation of why mental health problems have taken over from back pain as the main reason for people being unable to work and claiming incapacity benefit. According to the charity, nearly 10% of the UK's gross domestic product is lost every year to stress.

(See also The Independent, May 18th 2005, p.16)

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