Include people with dementia in decision-making about their care, says NICE

Physiotherapists, and other health professionals, should actively involve people with dementia in decisions about their care and offer them a range of activities to promote their wellbeing.

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This is according to updated clinical guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), published on 20 June.

The guidance, which covers the assessment, management and support of people living with dementia and their carers, suggests that clinicians should

  • encourage and enable people with dementia to share their own views and opinions about their care
  • consider using a structured tool to assess their likes and dislikes, routines and personal history
  • use this information to offer individually tailored activities to promote their wellbeing

Steve Tolan, the CSP's head of practice, told Frontline: ‘This is important guidance for clinicians to help standardise care for people living with dementia.

‘In particular, it makes clear the importance of communication and advanced collaborative planning with patients and appropriate carers.’

Extra support for carers

NICE also suggests that carers should receive training to help them understand and respond to behavioural changes in people with dementia, and to enable them to adapt their communication styles to improve interactions.

In addition, the guidance states that carers should receive advice on how to look after their own physical and mental health, and their emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Pip White, CSP professional adviser, said the updated guidance would help physiotherapists, who frequently work with people with dementia in a variety of settings, to deliver evidence-based care while working as part of a multidisciplinary team.

‘It recognises the need for clear assessment of patients to rule out other causes of cognitive impairment such as delirium, and physiotherapists are ideally placed to offer high quality care for this group of patients,’ she said.



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by Robert Millett

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