BBC News | 22 February 2020 | Dementia: Cancer scanner ‘could help early diagnoses’
A cancer scanner could be used to identify some of the earliest and most difficult to diagnose forms of dementia, scientists have said.
Doctors at University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff said its PET scanner could show signs of the condition in people who are not showing symptoms.
About 47% of people in Wales living with dementia do not have a diagnosis.
The Welsh Government said it is investing £10m a year in its dementia action plan (Source: BBC News).
The full story is available from BBC News
Moyle, W. et al. | Using a therapeutic companion robot for dementia symptoms in long-term care: reflections from a cluster-RCT | Aging & Mental Health | Vol. 23 issue 3 | p329-336
Objectives: We undertook a cluster-randomised controlled trial exploring the effect of a therapeutic companion robot (PARO) compared to a look-alike plush toy and usual care on dementia symptoms of long-term care residents. Complementing the reported quantitative outcomes , this paper provides critical reflection and commentary on individual participant responses to PARO, observed through video recordings , with a view to informing clinical practice and research.
Method: A descriptive, qualitative design with five participants selected from the PARO intervention arm of the trial. The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry
Results: The five participants and their responses to PARO are presented in terms of three issues: i.) Different pre-intervention clinical presentations and different responses; ii.) Same individual, different response – the need for continual assessment and review; and iii.) The ethics of giving and retrieving PARO. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed in relation to each issue.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that one approach does not fit all, and that there is considerable variation in responses to PARO. A number of recommendations are discussed to aid the delivery of psychosocial interventions with PARO in practice, as well as to guide future research.
Full detail at Aging & Mental Health
Study finds assistive technologies can improve safety for people with Dementia through reducing falls risk, accidents and other risky behaviour | Aging & Mental Health
Objectives: Assistive technology (AT) may enable people with dementia to live safely at home for longer, preventing care home admission. This systematic review assesses the effectiveness of AT in improving the safety of people with dementia living in the domestic setting, by searching for randomised controlled trials, non-randomised controlled trials and controlled before-after studies which compared safety AT with treatment as usual. Measures of safety include care home admission; risky behaviours, accidents and falls at home; and numbers of deaths. The review updates the safety aspect of Fleming and Sum’s 2014 systematic review.
Method: Seven bibliographic databases, the Social Care Institute for Excellence website and the Alzheimer’s Society website were searched for published and unpublished literature between 2011–2016. Search terms related to AT, dementia and older people. Common outcomes were meta-analysed.
Results: Three randomised controlled trials were identified, including 245 people with dementia. No significant differences were found between intervention and control groups in care home admission (risk ratio 0.85 95% CI [0.37, 1.97]; Z = 0.37; p = 0.71). The probability of a fall occurring was 50% lower in the intervention group (risk ratio 0.50 95% CI [0.32, 0.78]; Z = 3.03; p = 0.002). One included study found that a home safety package containing AT significantly reduced risky behaviour and accidents (F(45) = 4.504, p < 0.001). Limitations include the few studies found and the inclusion of studies in English only.
Conclusion: AT’s effectiveness in decreasing care home admission is inconclusive. However, the AT items and packages tested improved safety through reducing falls risk, accidents and other risky behaviour.
Effectiveness of assistive technology in improving the safety of people with dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis | Aging & Mental Health | published online: 10 April 2018
See also: Assistive technology and dementia | Alzheimer’s Society
iSPACE is helping surgeries improve support for patients with dementia and their carers | AHSN
iSPACE is a quality improvement and innovation programme delivered in GP surgeries in all parts of Hampshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight and south Wiltshire. The aim of iSPACE is to improve the pathway of patients with dementia and their carers through primary care.
The key to the spread of iSPACE is the engagement of staff teams and a recognition that people with dementia need a more personalised care plan and access to resources to help them and their carers to better manage the pathway.
Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) worked with Alzheimers charities, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), Public Health England (PHE), Health Education England (HEE) and companies providing dementia services both within and outside the NHS to deliver this project. The AHSN delivered the project into 153 GP surgeries providing training, access to resources, meetings to encourage progress and physical resources such as funding for environmental changes and literature.
Patients reported feeling more supported by their surgery; carers reported a greater understanding of dementia from the surgery team and seeing the same clinician at each appointment. Dementia diagnosis rates increased (15.9% for people aged over 65), care planning increased by 26% for face to face reviews and 80% of surgeries now have a dementia noticeboard.
Full detail at The AHSN Network
Most community pharmacies in England are now providing improved asthma and dementia care | NHS England
Thousands of community pharmacists took up incentives to offer new patient services, such as providing asthma checks and undertaking training to become more dementia aware, as part of a programme to improve care.
The uptake figures from NHS England show that 97 per cent (11,410) of community pharmacies are now signed up to the Quality Payments Scheme, which provides an incentive to deliver new clinical services in a bid to encourage more people to use their local pharmacist.
An assessment of the new scheme shows that since April 2017, 70,000 pharmacy staff have become ‘Dementia Friends’ in order to offer greater awareness regarding the needs of people with dementia.
NHS England issued guidance in December 2016 on how community pharmacies could qualify for the scheme, which ran between December 2016 and March 2018, and is currently considering how best to implement the successes of this scheme over the long-term.
Full story at NHS England
This review seeks to identify primary research and use its findings to develop explanations of what characteristics of dementia-friendly initiatives in hospitals make them work, in what circumstances, and why | BMJ
Objectives To identify features of programmes and approaches to make healthcare delivery in secondary healthcare settings more dementia-friendly, providing a context-relevant understanding of how interventions achieve outcomes for people living with dementia.
Design A realist review conducted in three phases: (1) stakeholder interviews and scoping of the literature to develop an initial programme theory for providing effective dementia care; (2) structured retrieval and extraction of evidence; and (3) analysis and synthesis to build and refine the programme theory.
Data sources PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Cochrane Library, NHS Evidence, Scopus and grey literature.
Eligibility criteria Studies reporting interventions and approaches to make hospital environments more dementia-friendly. Studies not reporting patient outcomes or contributing to the programme theory were excluded.
Results Phase 1 combined findings from 15 stakeholder interviews and 22 publications to develop candidate programme theories. Phases 2 and 3 identified and synthesised evidence from 28 publications. Prominent context–mechanism–outcome configurations were identified to explain what supported dementia-friendly healthcare in acute settings. Staff capacity to understand the behaviours of people living with dementia as communication of an unmet need, combined with a recognition and valuing of their role in their care, prompted changes to care practices. Endorsement from senior management gave staff confidence and permission to adapt working practices to provide good dementia care. Key contextual factors were the availability of staff and an alignment of ward priorities to value person-centred care approaches. A preoccupation with risk generated responses that werelikely to restrict patient choice and increase their distress.