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Found 141 results
  1. Content Article
    A study published in the BMJ has investigated the risks of multiple adverse outcomes associated with use of antipsychotics in people with dementia. The authors of the study found that antipsychotic use compared with non-use in adults with dementia was associated with increased risks of stroke, venous thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, heart failure, fracture, pneumonia, and acute kidney injury, but not ventricular arrhythmia. The range of adverse outcomes was wider than previously highlighted in regulatory alerts, with the highest risks soon after initiation of treatment.
  2. News Article
    Doctors are being urged to reduce prescribing of antipsychotic drugs to dementia patients after the largest study of its kind found they were linked to more harmful side-effects than previously thought. The powerful medications are widely prescribed for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia such as apathy, depression, aggression, anxiety, irritability, delirium and psychosis. Tens of thousands of dementia patients in England are prescribed them every year. Safety concerns have previously been raised about the drugs, with warnings to medics based on increased risks for stroke and death, but evidence of other dangers was less conclusive. New research suggests there are a considerably wider range of harms associated with their use than previously acknowledged in regulatory alerts, underscoring the need for increased caution in the early stages of treatment. Antipsychotic use in dementia patients was associated with elevated risks of a wide range of serious adverse outcomes, including stroke, blood clots, heart attack, heart failure, fracture, pneumonia and acute kidney injury, the study’s authors reported. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 April 2024
  3. News Article
    A man with Down’s Syndrome and dementia died in hospital after not being fed for nine days. The 56-year-old was admitted to Poole hospital with a hip fracture after falling over at a Bournemouth care home, where he had been receiving care. On admittance, he was taken to the trauma and orthopaedics ward, where he was listed as ‘nil by mouth’, as he had trouble swallowing. Nine days later, he died of pneumonia after a ‘series of errors’ at the hospital. Now, the man’s father has been given £22,500 in compensation, after an incident investigation at the hospital. Allegations made against the hospital included a failure to feed the patient for nine days, causing "his subsequent severe deterioration and death". The hospital failed to adequately monitor and investigate his condition, while failing to provide senior doctors, it was alleged. This left unsupervised junior doctors who did not have access to senior staff or any way to escalate their concerns, allegations said. This, it was claimed, was not done when the patient was still nil by mouth after nine days, despite the fact he was suffering from pneumonia. Read full story Source: Yahoo News, 9 February 2024
  4. News Article
    Alzheimer's patients could lose out on two groundbreaking new drugs because the NHS is unprepared, a leading charity has told BBC Panorama. Lecanemab and donanemab slow down the early stages of the disease - which is the most common form of dementia. But Alzheimer's Research UK says the NHS is not ready to roll out the drugs, which could be licensed this year. The treatments would then be subject to an assessment of cost and benefits before they are made available. Lecanemab and donanemab represent a step forward because they target one of the causes of Alzheimer's, rather than treating the symptoms. However, their effectiveness depends on early diagnosis - and very few people have the specialist scans or investigations which would be needed. Questions also remain over potentially harmful side-effects of the drugs and whether the benefit they offer represents value for NHS money. Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 February 2024
  5. News Article
    A blood test for detecting Alzheimer’s disease could be just as accurate as painful and invasive lumbar punctures and could revolutionise diagnosis of the condition, research suggests. Measuring levels of a protein called p-tau217 in the blood could be just as good as lumbar punctures at detecting the signs of Alzheimer’s, and better than a range of other tests under development, experts say. The protein is a marker for biological changes that happen in the brain with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Richard Oakley, an associate director of research and innovation at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This study is a hugely welcome step in the right direction as it shows that blood tests can be just as accurate as more invasive and expensive tests at predicting if someone has features of Alzheimer’s disease in their brain. “Furthermore, it suggests results from these tests could be clear enough to not require further follow-up investigations for some people living with Alzheimer’s disease, which could speed up the diagnosis pathway significantly in future. However, we still need to see more research across different communities to understand how effective these blood tests are across everyone who lives with Alzheimer’s disease.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 23 January 2024
  6. News Article
    The scale of the crisis in social care is laid bare as figures show that dementia patients occupy a quarter of all beds in the NHS. People living with the disease often go into hospital after falls or infections as well as for acute medical or surgical problems. Dementia patients often experience longer hospital stays than the average patient and can be delayed leaving wards due to a shortage of care in the community. At any one time in the NHS, one in four hospital beds are occupied by people living with dementia, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which says stays on wards can trigger distress, confusion and delirium for patients. Doctors must carry out a discharge assessment of patients to ensure they are healthy before they can leave hospital. Medics assess a dementia patient’s care needs outside of hospital and discharge can be delayed if these are deemed not adequate. Demand for social care continues to rise as the population grows older but there is a shortage of workers in the sector. Skills for Care estimated that, in 2022/23 an average of 9.9 per cent - or 152,000 - roles in adult social care in England went unfilled. This was the equivalent to 152,000 vacancies - down by 11,000 from the previous year, although vacancies remain high compared to the wider UK economy. Services are so overstretched that people are left struggling without vital support to carry out everyday tasks in their own homes, and lives are being blighted. Read full story Source: The Independent, 14 January 2024
  7. Content Article
    An estimated 90,000 people are living with dementia in Scotland, with that number expected to increase to 164,000 by 2036. These national clinical guidelines from Health Improvement Scotland, the first to be published in nearly 20 years, provide recommendations on the assessment, treatment and support of adults living with dementia. It calls for greater awareness of pre-death grief for people with dementia, their carers and their loved ones, as they fear the loss of the person they know. To accompany the guidelines, a podcast has been produced by Health Improvement Scotland speaking to professionals, including Dr Adam Daly, Chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Guideline Development Group and a Consultant in old age psychiatry, and Jacqueline Thompson, a nurse consultant and the lead on pre-grief death for the guideline. We also hear from Marion Ritchie, a carer who experienced pre-death grief while caring for her husband.
  8. Content Article
    This guide is a self assessment tool to enable Primary Care to become dementia friendly. It includes a checklist for GP practices to help people with dementia and their carers access high quality care and support. People with dementia, carers and staff in GP practices have worked together to co-design and develop this guide. It outlines the benefits for general practice in becoming dementia friendly and includes checklists covering: General practice systems General practice culture Patient diagnosis, care and support Physical environment This guide is adapted from the Alzheimer’s Society’s Guide to Making General Practice Dementia Friendly.
  9. Content Article
    A dementia diagnosis is a fundamental first stage of the dementia pathway. Missing out on an early and accurate diagnosis can have a significant negative impact, for example limiting access to symptom management interventions, ultimately leading to poorer outcomes and increased health and social care costs.  This inquiry focuses on understanding the scale of impact of regional health inequalities on access to a dementia diagnosis and developing solutions to reduce their influence.
  10. Content Article
    Orchard Care Homes had noticed high numbers of antipsychotic medicines being prescribed to people living with dementia. There appeared to be little consideration of why these people were distressed and communicating this through behaviour. Orchard staff were convinced pain was a key factor in these distress responses—they were not necessarily because the person had a diagnosis of dementia. Orchard adopted PainChek, a digital pain assessment tool, in 2021 to support their dementia promise framework. They worked with the PainChek team and ran a pilot with the app. They were one of the first care providers to use this solution in the UK. It was originally launched it in one of their specialist dementia care communities, but is now in all 23 Orchard homes. Since the rollout of the app, there has been an increase in available pain relief and a decrease in conflict-related safeguarding referrals. There is increased time available for colleagues and a reduction in polypharmacy. There has been a 10% decrease in antipsychotic medicine use across all 23 homes, promoting a greater quality of life. People now have effective pain management plans. Orchard have also been able to ensure distress plans are in place which firstly considers if pain is the cause of distress. This case study was submitted to the Care Quality Commission's (CQC's) Capturing innovation to accelerate improvement project by Orchard Care Homes.
  11. Content Article
    This year, WHO's World Mental Health Day on 10 October will focus on the theme 'Mental health is a universal human right'. To mark World Mental Health Day, we’ve pulled together 10 resources, blogs and reports from the hub that focus on improving patient safety across different aspects of mental health services.
  12. Content Article
    Dementia remains the biggest killer in the UK and is on track to be the nation’s most expensive health condition by 2030. This report by the charity Alzheimer's Research UK sets out a series of calls for party leaders ahead of the next general election, all of which are underpinned by an urgent recommendation for greater investment in dementia research.
  13. Content Article
    This checklist has been developed by the Alzheimer’s Society to allow patients to check symptoms that could be a possible sign of dementia. Endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), it is a simple tool to help patients and their families clearly communicate their symptoms and concerns to a GP or other healthcare professional. It is not a diagnostic tool, but aims to provide a basis for helpful conversations.
  14. Content Article
    The Alzheimer’s Society Accelerator Programme aims to support the development of products and services to help people living with dementia. There is £100,000 of funding available, together with mentoring, peer-to-peer learning and opportunities for co-creation with people who have the condition. Engineers, designers, developers, innovators, academics, entrepreneurs, or anyone with a good idea can apply. Your idea could be a simple product that makes an everyday task easier for a person living with dementia. You may have an innovative idea for a new product or service. To bring your idea to life, the programme offers a 12-month partnership including: Up to £100K of funding Expert innovation and dementia support for 12 months Peer-to-peer learning with our Innovation Collective Opportunities to learn from people living with dementia through co-creation. Support during the application process. Apply from link below. Closing date 4 October 2023.
  15. News Article
    Difficulties seeing GPs during the pandemic have hampered efforts to tackle dementia, with thousands missing out on a diagnosis, Sajid Javid has said. Announcing a ten-year strategy aimed at preventing four in ten cases of the disease, the health secretary said that delays had “stemmed the tide of progress”. GPs must play a “crucial role” in referring patients, he said. NHS leaders went further, saying a drop in face-to-face GP appointments had meant “opportunities have been lost” to spot signs of dementia. Only 62% of consultations in March were face to face, compared with 80% before the pandemic. Javid said: “By 2025, one million people in the UK are expected to have dementia, and this is expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. I know the Alzheimer’s Society has estimated over 30,000 people didn’t receive a diagnosis because of the pandemic. Tens of thousands are still missing out on a dementia diagnosis each year because they confuse key symptoms with getting old.” About 325,000 in England have dementia but are undiagnosed, meaning they cannot get treatment or social care support. Speaking at the Alzheimer’s Society conference, Javid said the government would publish a strategy this year, which would be “as bold as we’ve been with our ten-year plan for cancer”, focusing on prevention and research. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 18 May 2022 This week is Dementia Action Week - see our Top picks: 5 key resources about patient safety for people with dementia
  16. News Article
    A hospital trust is investigating after a patient was incorrectly diagnosed and treated for Alzheimer's disease for seven years. Alex Preston, from Anstey, Leicestershire, was 54 at the time and said the diagnosis completely destroyed his life and made him feel suicidal. Mr Preston said he was having problems concentrating at work in 2014. "The doctor thought I had low mood and anxiety," he said. Mr Preston, now 62, was sent to the Bradgate Mental Health Unit where he underwent a series of tests and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. "That's when my life was completely destroyed. "As soon as we were told that diagnosis, everything me and Susan had planned just went," he said. He was then re-examined in the pandemic and told that diagnosis was a mistake. Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) said it was undertaking an independent review of the case. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 May 2022
  17. News Article
    “Smart socks” that track sweat levels, heart rate and motion are being given to dementia patients to alert carers if they are becoming distressed. The unintrusive technology was developed by Dr Zeke Steer, of Bristol Universit. Dr Steer wanted to find a way to spot the early warning signs of distress, so carers or relatives could intervene with calming techniques to de-escalate the situation. The hi-tech hosiery - which look and feel like normal socks - use e-textiles to transmit data in real time to an app, which alerts carers when stress levels are rising. The socks are now being trialled among mid to late stage dementia patients. Researchers think they will also help people with autism and other conditions that affect communication. Fran Ashby, manager from Garden House Care Home, in Bristol, said: “We were really impressed at the potential of assisted technology to predict impending agitation and help alert staff to intervene before it can escalate into distressed behaviours. “Using modern assistive technology examples, like smart socks, can help enable people living with dementia to retain their dignity and have better quality outcomes for their day to day life.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 9 May 2022
  18. News Article
    A nurse has been suspended for three months by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) after forcing medication into a person with dementia's mouth. An NMC Fitness to Practise (FtP) panel found Reni Kirilova had forced medicine into the patient’s mouth, held her mouth closed and shouted ‘take your tablets’ while working at the Chocolate Quarter Care Home in Bristol, run by the St Monica Trust. Patient was reportedly distressed, waving her hands and shouting The incident occurred on 30 May 2019, seven days after Ms Kirilova began working at the care home on 23 May. She was suspended on 7 June pending a police investigation and she resigned the same day. One witness told the NMC hearing that they saw the nurse’s fingers go over the patient’s mouth for around 30 seconds while the patient was ‘flapping her hands’ and ‘trying to spit them out’. They added the patient was distressed and was ‘waving her hands everywhere’ and shouting ‘no, no, no’. Ms Kirilova denied the allegations and said that she had given the patient some water and then tilted the patient’s chin to help her swallow. The panel found that the allegation she held her hand over the patient’s mouth was not true but that she had held it closed in some way, after three witnesses corroborated this. The panel said they were not satisfied that she had considered how she would cope with stressful situations in the future and there was a risk it could happen again. Read full story Source: Nursing Standard, 7 April 2022
  19. News Article
    A nurse who admitted she was unfit to practise after dragging a patient with dementia to her room and forcefully attempting to administer a sedative has been suspended for a year by the nursing regulator. Carol Picton was working in the stroke unit at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in November 2017 when colleagues raised concerns about her treatment of a vulnerable older woman. Witnesses who gave evidence to an NMC fitness to practice (FtP) panel said they heard the patient screaming in distress after being roughly dragged by her arm back to her room by Ms Picton. The nurse then attempted to forcefully administer the anti-psychotic drug Haloperidol without checking the correct dosage, the hearing was told. She tried to give the drug orally using a 2ml injection syringe rather than an oral syringe. Ms Picton denied forceful mistreatment and panel found no evidence she had shown insight into her misconduct When the patient spat out the drug Ms Picton gave her more without knowing how much she had ingested, risking an overdose, the panel heard. Ms Picton, who was referred to the NMC by her employer following an internal investigation, was also said to have tilted the patient’s bed to prevent her getting out and leaving her room. The panel, which found five charges proven, concluded that Ms Picton’s actions were ‘deplorable’ and amounted to harassment and abuse. Read full story Source: Nursing Standard, 21 March 2022
  20. News Article
    Lateral flow tests could cost care home visitors £73 a month, a leading UK charity has said, as it renewed calls to keep the devices free in such settings. The government has previously announced that free testing for the general public will end from 1 April, and that this will include care home visitors. However, charities have warned the shift away from free tests could place a heavy financial burden on those visiting care homes, where testing is still advised. James White, the head of public affairs and campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the proposed charge on lateral flow tests for visitors to care homes was a cruel tax on care. “Over the past two years, we’ve consistently heard many tragic stories from families struggling to visit their loved ones in care homes. For many people with dementia, this isolation has led to a significant deterioration in their condition and mental health,” he said. “With infection rates rising once again, the government must provide free lateral flow tests for all visitors to care homes so that families are not put in an agonising position where they are forced to ration visits, leaving people with dementia once again isolated and alone.” Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: “No one should have to pay out of their own pocket for tests in circumstances where the expert advice is clear that testing remains an important safeguard against Covid,” she said. “If care home visitors are going to continue to be asked to keep testing to protect their loved ones, it would be completely unacceptable to expect them to pay.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 March 2022 Further reading Visiting restrictions and the impact on patients and their families: a relative's perspective
  21. News Article
    The Government must provide the health service with more support to fulfil its ambition of extending healthy life expectancy and reducing premature death, an expert has warned. It comes after the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) published an interim report on its Major Conditions Strategy, a 5-year blueprint to help manage six disease groups more effectively and tackle health inequality. The groups are cancer, cardiovascular disease – including stroke and diabetes – musculoskeletal conditions, chronic respiratory diseases, mental health conditions and dementia. The Government said the illnesses "account for over 60% of ill health and early death in England", while patients with two or more conditions account for about 50% of hospital admissions, outpatient visits, and primary care consultations. By 2035, two-thirds of adults over 65 are expected to be living with two or more conditions, while 17% could have four or more. Sally Gainsbury, Nuffield Trust senior policy analyst, said the Government is right to focus on the six conditions, but "will need to shift more of its focus towards primary prevention, early diagnosis, and symptom management". She added: "What's less clear is how Government will support health and care systems to do this in the context of severe pressures on staff and other resources, as well as a political culture that tends to place far more focus on what happens inside hospitals than what happens in community healthcare services, GP practices and pharmacies. This initiative is both long overdue and its emphasis has shifted over time. The Major Conditions Strategy is being developed in place of a White Paper on health inequalities originally promised over 18 months ago." Read full story Source: Medscape, 16 August 2023
  22. News Article
    A Scottish research firm set up by a dementia expert who quit the NHS because of insufficient “infrastructure” has developed a blood test to allow doctors to identify Alzheimer’s disease earlier. Scottish Brain Sciences, based in Edinburgh, announced it will collaborate with Roche Diagnostics on a series of projects, which the former’s founder, Craig Ritchie, said could have “big impacts”. Ritchie, who has led dozens of drug trials and pilots a European network on preventing Alzheimer’s, had been advocating the need to create new brain health centres across Scotland. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 14 August 2023
  23. News Article
    Groundbreaking treatments for Alzheimer’s disease that work by removing a toxic protein called beta amyloid from the brain may benefit whites more than Black Americans, whose disease may be driven by other factors, leading Alzheimer’s experts told Reuters. The two drugs - Leqembi, from partner biotech firms Eisai (4523.T) and Biogen (BIIB.O), and an experimental treatment developed by Eli Lilly (LLY.N), donanemab — are the first to offer real hope of slowing the fatal disease for the 6.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. Although older Black Americans have twice the rate of dementia as their white peers, they were screened out of clinical trials of these drugs at a higher rate, according to interviews with 10 researchers as well as four Eisai and Lilly executives. Prospective Black volunteers with early disease symptoms did not have enough amyloid in their brain to qualify for the trials, the 10 researchers explained. Read full story Source: NBC 31 July 2023
  24. News Article
    Soaring numbers of families struggling to care for someone with dementia have hit a “crisis point” with nowhere to turn for help when their loved one puts themselves or others at risk of harm, a charity has said. More than 700,000 people in the UK look after a relative with dementia. Many feel they can no longer cope with alarming situations where they or their relative are at immediate risk of being harmed, according to Dementia UK. Dementia can affect a person’s ability to manage their reactions to difficult thoughts and feelings. This can lead to them experiencing such intense states of distress that they become verbally or physically aggressive, putting themselves and those around them at risk of harm. The charity says carers and their loved ones are being failed because health and social care support services are already stretched to their limit, which has led to a surge in calls to its helpline. Sheridan Coker, the deputy clinical lead at Dementia UK, said: “We’re increasingly being contacted by families who are at risk of harm with no one to turn to. We receive calls where the person with dementia has become so distressed that they have physically assaulted the person caring for them, often a family member." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 31 July 2023
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