In 2009, in the face of identified shortcomings in the provision of dementia services in the UK and with the increasing challenge to society posed by dementia, the government announced the first national dementia strategy for England.
The strategy’s objective is to ensure significant improvements in dementia services across 3 key areas: * improved awareness * earlier diagnosis and intervention * a higher quality of care.
The government commissioned the Banerjee Report (Time for Action, an independent review of the use of antipsychotics in elderly people with dementia) as part of the strategy. The report concluded that antipsychotic use was too high in patients with dementia, and that the associated risks outweighed the benefits in most of these patients because these drugs seemed to have only a limited positive effect in managing dementia symptoms. More recently, the Prime Minister has launched a challenge to improve the care of people with dementia.
The report also concluded that antipsychotics seemed to be used too often as a first-line response to difficult behaviour in dementia (most often agitation), rather than as a considered second-line treatment when other non-pharmacological approaches have failed (see NICE guidelines for dementia5). On the basis of these findings, the government pledged to reduce by two-thirds the use of antipsychotics for people with dementia by November 2011.
The technology has proved to be successful, not only in calming and easing agitation and negating the need for anti-psychotic medication. It has been positive in providing a platform for person centred care, getting to know more about the person, promoting confidence and greater patient/carer interaction, improved sleep/awake pattern. Stimulated patients stay awake during the day and sleep at night, reducing the risk of falls.