London housing and care provider Octavia and St Christopher’s Hospice are launching a resource to help care teams promote a better quality of life for people towards the end of their lives. The Better Lives, Better Endings resource is aimed at care teams working in extra care housing and includes a range of tools to achieve better outcomes in the last two years of life. Launched on 8 March, the resource will help extra care workers to be more confident in end of life care, supporting residents so that their wishes and preferences are met. “We want [residents] to live well through to the end of their life and this means ensuring people’s wishes about how they want to live, where they would like to die, and what specific plans and preparations they want to make, are met,” said Octavia’s assistant director for care and support Neil McCarthy.
Charity Music for Dementia has published Advice for family and professional carers at home on its website. It emphasises that carers of both kinds do not have to be trained musicians in order to make music part of the care they provide. The advice page prompts carers of a person with dementia to think about the ways in which they might incorporate music into the daily routine. For example, is there a song the person likes to wake up to, a song that can distract or help focus attention during personal care, or a piece of music that can calm and reassure when agitation and distress are evident?
Government guidance on care home visiting in England was updated on 24 February, confirming that there are no nationally set direct restrictions on visiting in care homes. The Department of Health and Social Care says it expects care providers to facilitate visits wherever possible and in a risk-managed way. The revised guidance covers visits that should happen in all circumstances, safe visiting practices, when different visiting arrangements are needed, and sources of information and support. “While vaccination is proving very effective, we are still seeing some cases of severe illness, hospitalisation and death of care home residents who have been vaccinated,” the government says.
New liberty protection safeguards (LPS) are expected to replace the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) shortly and a half-day masterclass will look at the law as it stands and cover the plans for reform. It will look at the situation in residential care, the community and in hospital settings. Among the topics to be covered by health and social care lawyer Ben Troke is what can be done now to prepare for the LPS, both to meet the rights of individuals and to do so in a cost effective and efficient way. For more details, go to website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid-19 care home testing guidance from the government has been updated to reflect a move to pre-shift lateral flow tests (LTF) for care workers, replacing weekly PCR tests and LTFs three times a week. Care providers are asked to test all asymptomatic staff daily using the LFT before their shift begins. it also recommends monthly PCR tests for asymptomatic residents.
Admiral Nursing charity Dementia UK is highlighting LGBT+ History Month by listing services for LGBT+ people with dementia. Some services are specifically for LGBT+ people, like Opening Doors which supports those aged 50 or more across the UK and has online support groups for people with dementia, while others like DEEP are generic but has an online LGBT+ support group called Speak Out with Dementia.
Canada’s Research Institute for Ageing, based at the University of Waterloo, has produced a guide on dementia design – Supporting Comfort and Belonging for People Living with Dementia: A Guide for Team Members to Enhance the Environment in Senior Living. The 22-page practical guide aims to help care staff assess and create living environments, considering such factors as sensory challenges, physical environment and addressing unmet needs.
An online resource called Effro that aims to change perceptions of dementia has launched online, offering knowledge and expertise aimed at carers, professionals and families affected by the condition. Developed by the mental health and social change charity Platform, the website features interactive videos for organisations to use in supporting group sessions and online training opportunities, as well as community and one-to-one support which is available across South Wales. “Effro” is Welsh for “awake” – emphasising the objective of helping people “experience life to the fullest”. Rob McMillan, service manager at Platform, said the new service would focus on the individual, their history, goals, expectations and ambitions.
Wendy Mitchell’s latest book What I wish people knew about dementia is out, combining her customary wit and wisdom for a more positive outlook on dementia than the one usually presented in the media. The sequel to Wendy’s best selling memoir Somebody I Used to Know, the new book is described by publishers Bloomsbury as “practical and life-affirming” with the author’s own insights helping to counter “those familiar tropes, shortcuts and clichés that we are fed by the media, or even our own health professionals.” Wendy was diagnosed with young onset dementia aged 58 and, according to a review in The Times, “this revelatory memoir dispels some of the gloom that surrounds this terrible disease.”
A new compilation of the thoughts and poetry of Peter Berry has been published in book form under the title Walk with Me: Musings Through the Dementia Fog. Published on Amazon in December (£10.99), Peter’s words were captured by his friend Deb Bunt, who has spent the last two years jotting them down. The book is illustrated with photos of Suffolk taken by local photographer Daniel Ruffles. Journalist and podcaster Pippa Kelly praised Peter’s “pithy way” with words. “Peter’s warmth and wit shine through,” she said. “Dementia nearly destroyed him, cycling saved him and now he’s on a constant mission to pedal down his demon and show others how they – in their different ways – might do the same.”
Alzheimer’s Society has teamed up with Leeds Beckett University to create an online forum dedicated to supporting family carers of people affected by both dementia and cancer. “Through the forum we want to provide carers of people with dementia and cancer with a social support network of others who understand the unique challenges they may face,” said Leeds Beckett researcher Dr Mollie Price, who has been working with Alzheimer’s Society on the project. Dr Price describes the forum as a safe space to share experiences and seek practical and emotional support. For more information, contact Dr Price at email@example.com.