“Just one hour a week of social interaction helps dementia patients,”
reports The Guardian. Researchers working with care homes found that
training staff to deliver personalised care reduced people’s distress
and improved their quality of life.
Care home staff spent 60 minutes a week with each patient, talking to
them about their lives and interests, and tailoring activities to
things they enjoy.
Managing and providing a better quality of life for the estimated
850,000 people with dementia in the UK is a significant challenge. It’s
not easy to treat the agitation or distress that often accompanies
dementia. Antipsychotic medicines may have some impact, but they have
significant side effects and have not been shown to improve quality of
This study tested the effects of training care home staff in a
personalised care programme called WHELD (Wellbeing and Health for
people with Dementia). They then compared quality of life, agitation and
other dementia symptoms in homes where staff had received WHELD
training with homes that continued with care as normal.
Although the effects of the programme were small, they were as good
as or better than those shown by medication – and without the side