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Archive for August, 2010

No need for ‘chemical cosh’ at Rose Lodge

We were audited today by our local psychiatric consultant for our use of anti-psychotic medication, as part of a general audit of dementia care homes in the area. It is wonderful to see that this topic is being given the active attention that it deserves.

Originally invented for conditions such as schizophrenia, for many years now some care homes and hospitals have made extensive use of such medication as a “chemical cosh” for people with dementia. This means people are on purpose kept very subdued (“dozy” or even “zombie-like”) and so they are much less capable of interacting with the people around them. It makes for an environment which is “easy to manage” but has a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of the residents, including side effects such as dribbling and loss of balance causing falls.

Our policy is to keep such medication to an absolute minimum and for short periods only. Rather than resort to anti-psychotic medication we believe that by providing a therapeutic physical and social environment, we can improve our resident’s wellbeing and that this substantially reduces the need for anti-psychotic medication. You will find many stories on this site about how we provide such an environment at Rose Lodge.

The consultant confirmed that we are doing very well in keeping such medication to a minimum.

We recently admitted a gentleman from another care home who was prescribed such an anti-psychotic medicine, causing drowsiness, dribbling, and reduced sociability. When we discussed this with his wife, she told us that the care home had assured her that he was not prescribed any anti-psychotic medicines and that the dribbling was a symptom of the dementia (It is not!).  As we do with all new residents that take such medication, we talked with the family and the GP and promptly took this gentleman off his anti-psychotic medication and within days he started to ‘come alive’ and stopped dribbling, much to the delight of his family.

If you are concerned that this kind of thing may be happening to your loved one then do consult the GP who should be able to give you accurate information, and also discuss options for reducing or removing such medication. But be aware that your loved one may not be in an environment where this is possible as it does require a completely different approach to providing dementia care. Hospitals are notorious for not providing such an environment and some care homes are no better.

Minimising anti-psychotic medication is not an easy option. But we strongly believe that the increased well-being of our residents fully justifies taking this approach.

There is a great factsheet from the Alzheimer’s society about the use of anti-psychotic medication including a list of the ones that are in common use. You can find it here:

Investing in a new hoist.

Most of our residents are able to transfer or walk either independently or with assistance from carers but we do have a couple of residents who are unable to do this, and this is where a hoist becomes necessary.
New hoist at Rose Lodge

New hoist at Rose Lodge

Today we celebrated our ‘full house’ with the purchase of a brand spanking new hoist. This one is ‘all electric’ so removes the risk of back strain to our wonderful care team….

 Not sure if this picture show the exact model but anyway I liked the pink and green colour scheme!




Full House!

Our reputation has been steadily growing over the past 9 months, and we are now in the happy position of being full. So  we are converting our admin office back into a bedroom, with a new (smaller!) admin office nearer to the lounge (i.e. the residents and staff!). We should have the new bedroom ready in a couple of weeks or so, so that one of the people on our waiting list can join Rose Lodge.

Ladies in pink….

A couple of pictures I could not resist posting – from our dance and movement session today.