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Archive for July, 2011

Tom’s team competing with Sylvia’s team today…



….in the pub quiz. Tom’s team won! The wigs are optional but much appreciated…


The last Landshare day of the season

How time flies! Today was the last of our regular landshare days when a group of pupils from the Beacon School came to grow vegetables and flowers with the residents. It has been a tremendously enjoyable and beneficial experience for our residents (and i believe for the children!). The residents are taking a great interest in the work of the children and a pattern has emerged where the residents do seeding and potting up, and the pupils do the rest. And what a great job they have done, just have a look!

Today they built a bean-pole ‘wigwam’ and planted bean plants, they raked seedbeds and sowed four vegetables, cleared out the chicken run, harvested the endive in the raised beds and sowed salad vegetables. Ah and they harvested rhubard for the rhubarb crumble, and collected eggs from the hen house.


Did it put smiles on faces ? You bet it did!

Spot the fresh eggs!

Painkillers ‘may ease agitation’ in dementia patients

As reported by BBC New today

Many dementia patients being prescribed “chemical cosh” antipsychotic drugs could be better treated with simple painkillers, research says.

The British and Norwegian study, published on the BMJ website, found painkillers significantly cut agitation in dementia patients.

Agitation, a common dementia symptom, is often treated with antipsychotic drugs, which have risky side effects.

The Alzheimer’s Society wants doctors to consider other types of treatment.

Experts say that each year about 150,000 patients in the UK are unnecessarily prescribed antipsychotics, which have a powerful sedative effect, and can worsen dementia symptoms, and increase the risk of stroke or even death.

They are often given to patients whose dementia makes them aggressive or agitated.

But researchers from Kings College, London, and Norway speculated that the behaviour may sometimes be caused by pain, which patients were unable to express in other ways.

They studied 352 patients with moderate or severe dementia in nursing homes in Norway.

Half were given painkillers with every meal, the rest continued with their usual treatments.

Supervised treatment ‘key’

After eight weeks, there was a 17% reduction in agitation symptoms in the group being given painkillers – a greater improvement than would have been expected from treatment with antipsychotics.

The researchers concluded that if patient’s pain was properly managed, doctors could reduce the number of prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs.

Click to play

Prof Clive Ballard, Alzheimer’s Society: “Simple painkillers… had a a very, very substantial impact”

Professor Clive Ballard, one of the report authors and director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the finding was significant.

“At the moment, pain is very under-treated in people with dementia, because it’s very hard to recognise,” he said.

“I think this could make a substantial difference to people’s lives – it could help them live much better with dementia.”

However, he said painkillers should only be given to patients under the supervision of a doctor.

The Alzheimer’s Society is issuing new guidance calling on doctors to think much harder before prescribing antipsychotics, and to look at prescribing pain medication instead.

The National Care Association said the study highlighted some of the complexities of dementia.

“Pain in itself is debilitating, so to identify it as the route cause of agitation and aggressive behaviour is a major breakthrough which will enable us to support people appropriately,” said its chairman, Nadra Ahmed.

A government programme to reduce the inappropriate prescription of antipsychotic drugs is already under way in England.

The care services minister Paul Burstow welcomed the study.

“It should act as a further call for GPs to carefully examine the reason why those with dementia display agitated behaviour, rather than immediately resorting to antipsychotic medication,” he said.

If the chickens can’t get to the grass…..

The grass will have to come to the chickens. They loved it!

You know you’re in trouble when…..

…..Three generals are studying a map!

Back in April, staff and residents did a sponsored walk to raise money for some new garden furtiture. Some of it needed putting together and Brain and Tom obliged, putting together a bird table and a box to hold cushions and hats for the terrace.

In the process I observed something interesting. Men are perfectly happy working together without speaking a word to each other!