Leading the way in the future of dementia care

Chapel Level Nursing Home
Chapel Level Nursing Home
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A KIRKCALDY nursing home is helping to lead the way in the future of dementia care.

Chapel Level Nursing Home, run by the HC-One group, is one of 150 care homes across the UK taking part in a new pilot project which aims to cut the need for the use of anti-psychotic drug use in those suffering from the more advanced stages of dementia.

The project, which has received funding from the Department of Health and has been developed by the Alzheimer’s Society and the University of Worcester, is already showing positive results.

Details of the project, which has been running since October, were revealed at an open day at the Kirkcaldy home last Friday attended by David Torrance, 
MSP for Kirkcaldy.

The Focused Intervention Training and Support (FITS) programme teaches care home staff to safely manage behavioural symptoms of residents with dementia without the need to use antipsychotic drugs which can have serious side effects.

People with dementia can often experience symptoms which cause aggression, agitation and delusions, particularly in the later stages of the condition, and are often treated with antipsychotics. However a review of their use concluded that two-thirds of prescriptions were inappropriate and the government is commited to reducing their use.

The FITS programme is person centred and involves recognising the person with dementia as an individual and tailoring their care according to their interests and needs. A care plan is developed taking into account their history, interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes and involves both the person and their family.

As well as providing opportunities for the person to have discussions and relationships with others, they are encouraged to try new experiences and take part in activities they enjoy. If they become agitated distraction techniques including music therapy, reminiscence and exercise sessions are tried.

A research study carried out over nine months successfully reduced the use of antipsychotics by almost 50 per cent without worsening symptoms, and similar success stories are being reported in Kirkcaldy.

Gordon Candlish, manager at Chapel Level, and a dementia care coach, said: “We have been very pleased with the results we have seen since the programme was introduced in October and we are aiming for a 50 per cent decrease in the use of antipsychotic drugs here.

“Those taking part are regularly assessed by the home’s psychologist and doctors to help us evaluate the progress, and we are hoping to 
roll it out to other care homes 
in the future.”