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Dementia patients should be recommended social activities, says NICE

Patients who have dementia should be offered activities to help promote their wellbeing, according to NICE. 

The institute has updated its quality standard on dementia and recommended that people living the syndrome should be given access to activities such as aromatherapy, art, gardening, baking and animal-assisted therapy.

The recommendation was made as dementia patients find it harder to ‘engage socially’, according to NICE.

It also recommended that dementia patients should be allowed to cater social activities to fit and support their own needs.

NICE has said GPs and other health and social care practitioners should have discussions with dementia patients and their families about their life experiences, preferences and circumstances to find out which activities they can choose, and are available locally.

Other activities NICE has suggested include exercise, music therapy, mindfulness, and reminiscence therapy.

NICE quality standards draw from NICE guidance and make recommendations describing high-quality care in priority areas to improve.

NICE deputy chief executive and director of health and social care Professor Gillian Leng said: ‘People with dementia can find it harder to take part in activities, to engage socially, to maintain their independence, to communicate effectively, to feel in control and to care for themselves. Providing enjoyable and health-enhancing activities like music or reminiscence therapy can help with this.

‘Understanding the activities that a person prefers and thinks are suitable and helpful, and adapting them to their strengths and needs, will make a person more likely to engage with the activities offered and therefore more likely to benefit from them.’

Last year, NICE suggested in its guidelines that GPs should interview relatives of patients with suspected dementia during initial assessment.