Resources (ND21)

Worcester University’s Association for Dementia Studies has launched an Is your garden dementia friendly? environmental assessment tool. Given the greater importance attached to outdoor spaces during the pandemic, the tool has been developed on the basis that the principles of designing gardens for people with dementia are common across all parts of the care sector, including hospitals, care homes and specialist and assisted housing. It follows the same format as the King’s Fund/University of Worcester 2020 environmental assessment tools, which now encompass care home, housing, health centre, hospital, and ward assessment as well as the new garden tool.

Kepler Vision Technologies says its upgraded Night Nurse system helps to monitor patients and residents with dementia and keep them safe. Kepler’s care facility monitoring software uses detection technology based on machine learning to alert staff to signs of physical distress, such as falling, staying in the bathroom for longer than usual, or being unable to get out of bed. It can also identify the whereabouts of residents in hallways and allow staff to control resident access to different areas remotely. Kepler says its video-based technology removes any need for tracking devices worn by residents.

Tunstall Healthcare has launched Tunstall GO, which is worn as a pendant or attached to a keyring and provides two-way communication, fall detection and locatability of the wearer. When the user activates it, the system automatically notifies the monitoring centre of the person’s location so that assistance can sent. Tunstall Go also automatically raises an alert if a fall has been detected.

Three more virtual programmes have been launched as part of RADA Business’s expanding online offering. As the commercial subsidiary of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, it specialises in “virtual performance training” and the new programmes are The Confident Communicator, Voice of Influence, and Interviewing Skills. The overall aim is to equip business professionals with skills and techniques in communicating well and maximising impact in the workplace.

A new podcast explores the “hidden world” of home care – both professional and family care – for people with dementia. Based on research by Nottingham University and titled Silva Lining’s Care Plan, the podcast drama is based on diaries of paid carers and provides an insight into the relationships they form with people. According to the university, the podcast shows what person-centred care is like and “what is means to be human and to care, and is informed throughout by the personal experience of professional carers of people with dementia.” Professor Justine Schneider added: “This podcast shows people what we found through research, but in a totally fictional way; profound messages are conveyed through gentle humour.

Care charities Community Integrated Care and Age Exchange have created a Reminiscence Dice Game with the Rugby League World Cup 2021. The game uses “creative and fun methods” to help people relive the greatest memories of their lives, the charities say. Thirteen reminiscence topics include rugby league but also sports more generally, schooldays, work, food, holidays and local communities, o the basis that these are “important pillars of personal identity for many people.”

Software designed to make care more connected and support the day-to-day activity of alarm receiving centres has been unveiled by Tunstall Healthcare. These centres are typically operated by local authorities and social housing providers, and the new Tunstall Service Platform (TSP) is intended to assist with the complex processes involved in accessing, planning and delivering care to vulnerable adults living in the community. “Our service platform in particular has been designed to support the delivery of person-centred, proactive, preventative and sutainable services using digital technology as an enabler,” said Tunstall MD Gavin Bashar.

The government has published a Social Care Reform Toolkit, a suite of resources on Google Drive which sets out how the government plans to cap social care charging and bring more funding into the sector over the next three years. It also describes plans to invest at least £500 million in the workforce and claims that the cap on personal care costs will end worries about “wholly unpredictable costs many families face when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia.

Wayfinding technology that enables people to navigate through large buildings has been developed by a company called BuzzStreets. It is based on an app for the individual location. According to the makers, the technology is particularly relevant to people with dementia and their carers who are attending health appointments in unfamiliar and complex environments like hospitals. The company says it has successfully trialled the technology in a pilot project at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. Where appropriate the app can also be used to locate patients who may leave a hospital ward and become lost.

Care provider Loveday, which operates a “specialist memory care” service, has deployed new Integrated Cognitive Assessment (ICA) technology for the first time. Cognetivity Neuroscience’s ICA can be used to monitor the cognitive health of people in care and help identify when particular care or clinical interventions might be needed. Cognetivity CEO Dr Sina Habibi said the company was branching out from traditional assessments in the hospital clinic into residential and home care environments. The ICA relies on artificial intelligence to detect the earliest signs of cognitive impairment and support the diagnosis of dementia.

A West Midlands campaign to help people with dementia and other long-term conditions take exercise has been boosted now that a national association for gyms and leisure centres has signed up. The association UKActive joined the Include Me WM campaign, which aims to make the West Midlands an “exemplar region” for engaging people with long-term conditions in physical activity. “Sports and physical activity should be accessible to all,” said West Midlands mayor Andy Street.

A comprehensively revised and updated seventh edition of a long-standing title for family carers of people with dementia has just been published by Johns Hopkins University Press in the USA. The 36-Hour Day: A family guide to caring for people who have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins, is a guide to understanding and caring for someone with the condition. Some content in this new edition is fresh, covering, for example, promising preventive techniques and therapies as well as practical advice for avoiding “caregiver burnout”.

Project RITA, a council project to promote Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities, has won a top award from iESE, set up by local authorities to support public sector innovation and transformation. Run by Dudley council in the West Midlands, the £75,000 scheme gives people with dementia access to the RITA system, which involves the use of 24-inch touchscreens and 10-inch tablets to provide visual prompts for people’s thoughts and ideas. Its benefits have been seen in residential and nursing homes across the borough and at two dementia gateways in Dudley and Halesowen. “RITA is the best way of telling your story when you can’t tell it yourself,” says Matt Bowsher, Dudley’s director of adult social care. (search “Project Rita Dudley”)