The Map of Medicine ‘Dementia’ care map has recently been updated to include the latest guidance from NICE, WHO, and the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS). It provides succinct, accessible information on the diagnosis, assessment, and management of people with dementia, as well as advice on dealing with co-morbid emotional disorders and supportive information for carers.
A particular focus of the care map is the non-pharmaceutical management of non-cognitive symptoms and challenging behaviour. A report to the Department of Health in 2009 estimated that approximately 140,000 people with dementia may be inappropriately prescribed antipsychotic drugs every year in the UK1. The adverse effects of these medications can be extremely distressing and disabling. Long-term use can actually worsen symptoms and increase the risk of stroke. The unlicensed use of these drugs to ‘control’ agitated dementia patients is believed to contribute to ,1,8000 deaths each year1.