Can the NHS Please Talk to Care Homes?

Care Home image

Last month the Alzheimer’s Society released a report called “Fix Dementia Care: NHS and Care Homes” marks the second phase of an Alzheimer’s Society campaign looking at the experiences of people with dementia in a range of health and care settings. It contains the results of a survey of care home managers and the voices of people with dementia, their families and carers. The report sets out recommendations for the government and NHS to improve the experiences of people with dementia in care homes. Its maybe not a surprise that the Society would produce such a report but its some of the findings that area concern, for example nearly half of care managers felt that the NHS was not providing timely services to residents and even worse 1 in 5 reported being charged by GP’s for services that are meant to be free! The scale for the charges is most shocking as the average charge was just over £12,000 (per year presumably). Worrying also is the turnover of staff which may be running as high as 30% per year. Time to work more closely together I think and time to end the scandalous additional charging. If you want to see the full report go to:  and download it.

There is also a campaigning page on this theme at:

Also this week Marie Curie have a published a report that looks at the realities of End of Life Care for people who are LGBT. I suppose again this is quite disheartening but its worth having a look so that at least you have a better understanding of the LGBT community’s views on this. With the increasing number of older people and the likelihood that care homes will provide more specialist end of life care in the future care home managers should take note.  For more information and to access the report go to


Scotlands Dementia Awareness Week 2016

grace-notesThis year it runs from 30 May – 5 June, so today there are still 2 days to go! However the attention and resources made available are worth locating. I will start of with something that came out of a project carried out here, called “Grace Notes”.  This inspiring project brought together students, people with dementia and their carers to create six brand new songs exploring the theme of dementia. The songs are being released each day this week and we are at number 5 today, so one left to go.

You can access the songs at:

You have also still got time to head along to fundraising event, see

You might also want to look at three new videos at Police Scotland that all came out this week. Interesing and moving and a great resource if you have to discuss Dementia.Henry has dementia and if you are one of our National Dementa Champions you might recognise him. Brian cares for some one with Dementia and DAWDLE is a support group.

I have posted all 3 below and hope you enjoy watching.





These resources are as well as the BBC Scotland resources at

and the BBC’s Living with Dementia pages

which I have already mentioned in the Blog before. So much new stuff in such a short period of time!

Income Maximisation


Money Jar

I don’t post links from lifestyle websites very often but I thought this was an interesting one, given that the state pension currently amounts to just over £8,000 a year for most people. As you will note this falls well short of the money really required and while for many older people this is not a problem for many others clearly it is. See:

I have had lots of debates about this over the years in class and the conclusion we generally reach is that the most effective thing you can do to improve the health of older people in this country, is not health promotion per se, but to find ways to maximise their income so they have the resources to look after themselves. Quite a lot of the local authorities in Scotland have “income maximisation” teams and just as an example of what they can do, here is the guidance produced by East Renfrewshire Council which you are welcome to share.

Does your area have such a team? Have you advised anyone to contact them? Maybe its time…

Next week is also Dementia Awareness Week in Scotland which this year, extends from Monday 30 May – 5 June. More about that in next weeks post, but in the meantime if you want to know what’s taking place to mark it this year, go to the Lets Challenge Dementia Together Page at:

What a Team…..!



This week the team of people that I work with are the news! Firstly earlier in the month BBC Radio Scotland visited the Hamilton Campus and presenters Kaye Adams and John Beattie tourde the “Domus” facilities and while there, spoke to two of our nursing students, who provided an insight into how their course is equipping them with the skills required to care for people with dementia.

The programmes that have been created as a result of these interviews and their experiences while with us are now available at the BBC Scotland Website. To have a listen go to:

They form part of a series of programmes that the BBC are creating on Living with Dementia which you can find out more details about at:

As if that wasn’t enough, in another collaboration the BBC is launching a range of new online tools to mark Dementia Awareness weeks around the UK.

The tools – RemArc and Your Memories – have been developed by the BBC to help trigger conversations and memories among those living with dementia.

The BBC has worked in collaboration with various charities in the lead up to this season of programming, including Alzheimer Scotland our partners. They have also worked closely with the NHS and the University of the West of Scotland (in particular the staff from the team I work with of course); University of Dundee and St Andrews in developing the resources.

The RemArc resources are available at

“Your Memories” can be accessed at:

Please go and try them out and let me know what you think.

Oh; and on Tuesday another 130 Scottish Dementia Champions started.

Mental Health Awareness Week and”Curing Alzheimers'”


I can’t ignore the fact that the BBC have two very high profile programmes on over this week and next week that you should try and view. Firstly  the “Horizon” documentary last week looked at the new era of Alzheimer’s research, which may bring hope to millions of people affected by Dementia across the world. New scanning and gene technology is allowing scientists to identify the disease at its earliest stages, often several years before noticable symptoms appear and brain cells are irreperably damaged . A series of new drugs trials in Colombia, the USA and Europe are showing startling success in reducing beta amyloid, the protein which is a hallmark of the disease. what that means though is perhaps not as clear as you might hope. To watch the full programme go to:

Next Thursday on BBC One at 21:00 hours there is another programme about Dementia called “The Truth About…. Dementia” In this one Angela Rippon investigates the disease that took her mother’s life and is now starting to affect her friends. She undergoes a series of tests to discover if she has any early signs of the disease and makes the difficult decision about whether to take a genetic test that could predict her future risk. Along the way, Angela finds out some of the surprising ways people can help to protect themselves. Information about the programme is at the following webpage, where the iPlayer link will probably go afterwards. See:

Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 is also next week so there are lots of awareness raising things going on across the country. For information about what is happening look at the Mental Health Foundation page at

The BBC resource page “In the Mind” also contains lots of materials about the topic and will provide links to their contributions to this week; see:

Well done Barbara L.


Barbara L

One of my own students made the news locally this week so congratulations to UWS School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery Dementia Champion programme graduate Barbara Lawson (she’s on the left). Barbara had her poster exhibited at the National Dementia Conference, and of course Barbara is currently one of the students in the MSc in Gerontology and Later Life Studies programme . (Yes we are re-naming it this year).

For more about what Barbara does and where she works go to the Greenock Telegraph page at:

Thanks also are due this week to another of my masters students,  Gabriela Mitas for bringing the following to my attention.  Radio 4 have a series of programmes called FutureProofing, a new series of which began this week. The first programme was about Ageing and explores the technology and demography which herald a revolution in the ideas we may hold about ageing, and a fundamental shift in the expectations we all have for the course our lives might take. To listen to the broadcast which is available via the BBC iPlayer go to You might also like their previous programme on Mobility and watch out for a future broadcast that will look at Memory.

More Resilient Cities



Usually health and social care issues dominate my blog but I came across this article this week which I found quite thought provoking about changing our cityscapes. It seems that cities are on a race against time to adapt to their growing older populations and are embracing promoting inclusion, ending isolation and turning the streets into a physical environment that welcomes older people. For more about this topic go and read:

On a similar theme, this month also saw the publication of a new resource from Alzheimers Disease International on Dementia Friendly Communities. The publications set out key principles for dementia friendly communities and provide case studies and examples from around the world. To access these and find out more visit:

The Useful Websites on the resources page is really helpful if you want to know more about this.