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Mar 21st, 2013 - Dementia care study confirms dramatic reduction in use of antipsychotics and a range of drugs

A new study of residents in specialised dementia care homes has confirmed a reduction, averaging 48 per cent, in the requirement for antipsychotic medication, together with dramatic reductions in usage of a range of other medications and a corresponding improvement in the wellbeing of participants.

Analysis of data from 16 homes in the PEARL specialised dementia care programme developed by Four Seasons Health Care found that on average across all participants, in addition to the reduction in antipsychotics use:

A corresponding increase in wellbeing was measured among 46 per cent of residents.(*1) While 42 per cent gained weight, against the expectation that people living with dementia would lose weight.

Falls reduced by 25 per cent. Fall reduction may be attributed to increased alertness as a result of reduction of antipsychotics and other medications as well as improved wellbeing.

The only medication consistently to increase in use was for pain relief, which increased 10 per cent on average. As the use of antipsychotic medication has decreased in these homes, the use of analgesics increased (following assessment utilising the Abbey Pain Scale*2). This suggests pain may be under-recognised in dementia care. Typically on nursing units 40% of residents are taking analgesic medication. By contrast on typical dementia units, with a similar population profile, 0-10% of residents are taking analgesics.

The average of 48 per cent reduction in use of antipsychotics included the highest reduction of 84 per cent in one home. This is the second study of the outcomes from Four Seasons' specialised dementia units and it supports the findings of its initial study at eight other homes in 2010. The average reduction in antipsychotics use is in line with a reduction of 50 per cent recorded in the earlier study. The slight variance may be accounted for by the fact that some of the homes in the second study had started putting the specialised dementia care principles into practice when the study began and so had begun to experience a reduction in the need for antipsychotics.

Caroline Baker, Head of Quality & Dementia Care for Four Seasons Health Care said, "When people with dementia are showing distress reactions this may be due to them experiencing pain or discomfort, yet too often rather than trying to identify and relieve this symptom they are needlessly given antipsychotic drugs to calm them and keep them quiet. Reducing use of these drugs is a national priority. The consistent outcomes of the two studies in our dementia care homes provide confirmation that with better understanding of how to care for people with dementia we can reduce the need for antipsychotics together with a range of other medications and at the same time improve wellbeing."

Four Seasons Health Care has produced a summary report of its second dementia care study that is available in print version on request from ( You can download a copy of the 2013 Pearl Dementia Care Report by clicking here.


*1 Wellbeing can be profiled against a set of measurement criteria including, for example, how the resident interacts; ability to communicate needs and choices; sense of purpose. Ref. Well-being – University of Bradford. The data for wellbeing is based on a smaller sample of 14 homes that measured wellbeing. However the findings are consistent with the earlier study.

*2 Abbey Pain Scale, ref.Abbey J; De Bellis, A; Piller, N; Esterman, A; Giles, L; Parker, D & Lowcay, B funded by the JH & JD Gunn Medical Research Foundation 1998-2002

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18 Dec 2017

Residents and the care team at Murdoch House Care Home in Wokingham had a lovely Christmas treat as some local school children from St Teresa’s School Choir came carol singing.

Christine Tyrrell, Home Manager, said: “The residents really enjoyed listening to the carols. Some even got up and sang along with the children, especially when Jingle Bells and Silent Night were sung. The spirit of Christmas has definitely arrived at Murdoch House.”

Are you looking for a care home in Wokingham? Murdoch House Care Home offers support for residential care and respite care.


18 Dec 2017

Residents, relatives and the care team from Campsie View Care Home in Glasgow got into the Christmas spirit last week as they celebrated Christmas Jumper Day.

Everyone did their best to wear the most novelty jumper possible, and the results (as you can see by the picture) are quite outstanding.

Katy Jenks, Home Manager, said: “We all thought we’d wear our best novelty jumper to raise some money to provide special experiences for the residents in our care. We all had lots of fun and I want to thank everyone who donated.”

Are you looking for a care home in Glasgow? Campsie View Care Home offers support for nursing care.


17 Dec 2017

Residents, relatives, the care team and local community have all been helping get Riverside View Care Home in Darlington in the festive spirit.

Claire Westmorland, Home Manager, said: “Firstly we want to thank the local Co-Op who raised a lovely £180 for our resident’s fund. This will go towards our Christmas entertainment. On behalf of everyone in the home I want to thank Co-Op for their kind donation.”

Christmas has definitely hit the home, as they all got ready for their Christmas raffle. Complete with their very own naughty elf.

Claire added: “I want to thank everyone who donated to our raffle. The monies raised will go towards providing special experiences for our residents over the festive period. Merry Christmas from everyone at Riverside View.”

Are you looking for a care home in Darlington? Riverside View Care Home provides support for residential care, dementia care, respite care, end of life/palliative care and intermediate care.


16 Dec 2017

The team at Laurels Lodge Care Home in Woodside pulled out all the stops last week as they took part in Laurels Lodge has got talent.

It was an afternoon full of fun and laughter and the team were up for the challenge and showcased their talents amazingly.

Children from Donbank Nursery also joined the residents that day and they got involved and joined in dancing to the birdie song with the Marlene Smith, Personal Activities Leader. Relatives who came also joined in the dance and had a fun afternoon.

May Duncan said “this is great”! as she danced the birdie song.

Other relatives such as Lorna Graham and Irene Sivewright commented on how good the show was.

The headline acts included:

  • Linda Mason (Deputy Manager) and Lynn Smith (Home Administrator) - ABBA
  • Morag Leslie (SNCA) & Jenny Watt (Care Assistant) – as Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers
  • Rhodora Antiojo (Staff Nurse), Felix Mahinay (Care Assistant), Ewa Misztal (Care Assistant) & Arlene McGillivray (Care Assistant) as the Village People danced the YMCA music
  • Nomeda Jackstienne (Cook) as Madonna
  • Jolanta Nieckarz as Lady Gaga
  • Marlene Smith (PAL) dressed up as Chicken
  • Sheila Gesma (Home Manager) as the DJ

Marlene Smith, Personal Activities Leader, said: “The whole show was fabulous! The teachers from Donbank Nursery said to me that what we did was fantastic and they were very happy that the kids thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. Sheila our manager was our DJ. It was also great to see relatives participating; it was indeed an afternoon full of fun and entertainment!”

Are you looking for a care home in Woodside? Laurels Lodge Care Home offers support for dementia care, nursing care and respite care.

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