ENRICHEnabling Research in Care Homes
Working in care home research for the past five years has meant visiting a lot of homes.
I have worked with many people with Dementia, their families and those who care for them professionally. One issue that comes up time again is changed behaviour which often forms in agitation and aggression. But what causes this? Many peoples picture of a Care Home is that of residents sitting in a communal lounge, sedated through over medication. Infact many people’s experiences, including my own, of visiting loved ones in a home 10-20 years ago has been the basis of these beliefs
Changes in the NICE guidelines for use of antipsychotics, along with better understanding of the causes of agitated or aggressive behaviour has changed things a lot. If someone living in a care home with severe Dementia shows aggressive behaviour we now look deeper into the cause. If you are unable to communicate things like pain, lack of hearing or visualising information it must be incredibly frustrating. It makes sense that someone unable to tell their carer about pain in their arm might lash out when being assisted into a chair as this process could be causing a lot of discomfort. Being unable to see things correctly and yet be unable to express this problem would make anyone angry. Finding these problems and helping to resolve them can go a long way to help.
It is great to see the research we support through the Enrich Network is helping to build on this. Be it the development of new training for staff to help them care for people with Dementia who have aggressive or agitated behaviour or a new generation of medications that will not have so many negative side effects. Hopefully through such research we can make further progress in another 10-20 years time and change people’s perspectives of Care Homes.
Senior Clinical Studies Officer | CRN: Greater Manchester | NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN)