Getting More Older People Online

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This week I found something I needed months possibly years ago. Unfortunately, though, it didn’t exist. So I am pleased that finally, I have found¬† A really useful guide to “Helping Older People Use the Internet” which has been published this week by the Good Things Foundation. This foundation is a UK-based registered charity that is working towards a world where everyone benefits from digital and yes they mean older people as well!!!

They have supported over 2m people in gaining digital skills since their foundation in 2010, so I think they know what they are talking about. The guide was produced in partnership with the Centre for Ageing Better, one of my go-to organisations when I am looking for some inspiration for Blogging.

So if you are looking for the guide you can just click here The Foundation also hosts a website of free online courses, called “Learn My Way” which helps people improve their digital skills. I might have to head back there myself and if not, I know some students who might want to take a quick trip before their next module. ūüôā To visit “Learn My Way” click here.

 

 

 

 

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Looking Forward to 2020 and Looking Back

In 2015, the world united around the World Health Organisation (WHO) Agenda for Sustainable Development, pledging that no one will be left behind and that every human being will have the opportunity to fulfil their potential in dignity and equality. The following year they released their Global strategy and action plan
on ageing and health committing the member states to ensure the goals are applied as a response to population ageing and urging them to make efforts to further support Healthy Ageing.  Now as a response the WHO has set out 10 Priorities that are needed to achieve the objectives of their strategy and action plan and now we are about to embark on a decade of concerted action on the Decade for Healthy Ageing from 2020-2030. 

The 10 priorities make for interesting reading so a link to the WHO publication 10 Priorities: Towards a Decade of Health Ageing is HERE 

The link between the Sustainable goals for healthy ageing and the sustainable development goals is best explained HERE

More about the WHO’s work in Ageing and the Lifecourse can be found by watching the video and¬†on this webpage¬†which includes what they say about Age-Friendly Environments.

In a bit of a contrast to looking forward, there is a new exhibition at the RCN Library and Heritage Centre in London exploring the place of nursing within the care of older people in the UK, which has changed dramatically in the past two centuries. Created with the help of the RCN Older People’s Forum, Aspects of Age charts the shift from the days of Victorian workhouses to at-home care and future technologies. It also looks at how specialist nurses can help destigmatise old age.  Information related to the exhibition is available at the Aspects of Age exhibition page HERE 

You can also visit the exhibition at RCN headquarters in London from 11 April to 20 September, then at RCN Scotland in Edinburgh from October.

A Fairer Scotland for Older People: Our New Framework for Action

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In another “under the BBC’s/National media radar production”, the Scottish Government this week released its new framework aimed at challenging the inequalities older people face as they age in Scotland. The framework which is the result of an engagement process with older people (aged 50+) across Scotland which involved many of the organisations that support them, the report identifies some of the issues that are key to ensuring people are healthy, happy and secure in their older age.

Amongst its proposals are a number of actions related to the health and social care integration agenda  including proposing actions such as:

  • Engaging with the Older People‚Äôs Strategic Action Forum on integration.
  • Revising statutory guidance on local community engagement and participation by the end of 2019.
  • Ensuring carers and other representatives on Scotland’s Integration Joint Boards are supported by local partnerships to meaningfully engage with all future Board decision-making processes.

They have prepared a nice visual executive summary of what the report covers HERE

To download and read the full report CLICK HERE

If this had been the children’ s report would you have heard about it?

 

Any Truth in “Use it or Lose it”?

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Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

A bit of a departure this week from social care and staffing crises. Not that they have gone away. Thought I’d get back to looking at something that has appeared in the research again that’s worth some thought.

There has been a lot written and a lot of money spent on a commonly held belief that if you don’t stay intellectually engaged then you are likely to experience a cognitive decline, the so-called ‚Äúuse it or lose it‚ÄĚ phenomenon. This idea has become widely accepted by healthcare professionals and the public, but is it really true?

A large Scottish study published in the BMJ in December casts a lot of doubt on this belief suggesting something different goes on. The study looked at people all born in 1936 and subjected them to a series of tests from age 64 up to 5 times over the next 14 years and compared the results. They also had access to all the participant’s childhood intelligence tests so they had an idea of a baseline as well some ability to “track/see” a decline. So what did they find?

Well, self-reported intellectual engagement di not seem to have had no influence on the trajectory of any decline of memory and processing speed that they experienced in later life. (So using it, perhaps surprisingly, didn’t stop you from losing it).

To see the full study go to

Intellectual engagement and cognitive ability in later life (the ‚Äúuse it or lose it‚ÄĚ conjecture): longitudinal, prospective study

What they did find though was that engagement in intellectually stimulating activities throughout life meant that any decline experienced started at a higher point so although you still experienced a decline you were able to cope better for longer.

So my message for the week is to get out all those board games, problem-solving games crosswords, jigsaw puzzles etc. and start doing them now and keep on doing them, because you have just no idea just what the benefit to you will be later on.

So,¬†“Do it now or lose it later” is probably more accurate. Very much the same message¬† I’d say to you about physical exercise!

@TheKingsFund, @HealthFdn and @NuffieldTrust Warn of Urgent Need to Tackle NHS Workforce Crisis

In the three years or more that this Blog has existed, this topic is one that I have kept returning to. Finally we seem to have reached a point where what is going on is obvious to everyone.

According to The Nuffield Trust, The King‚Äôs Fund and the Health Foundation the UK is facing massive staff shortages across the National Health Service that are so severe¬†that services will suffer, with no chance of the shortfall in GP’s ever being fully addressed. The report predicts that without the kind of actions the new report called Closing the Gap proposes, nurse shortages will double to 70,000 and the GP shortage in England would triple to 7,000 in just 5 years (by 2023/24).

For nursing alone the report concludes that even with grants and expansion of postgraduate training, bringing 5,000 more students onto nursing courses each year and actions to stop nurses leaving the NHS, the gap cannot be entirely filled domestically and that in order to keep services functioning, 5,000 nurses a year must therefore also be ethically recruited from abroad. Essentially rubbishing the salary restrictions to recruitment proposed in the Immigration White Paper.

In fact they suggest that the government needs to fund the visa costs incurred by NHS Trust recruitment. Also, as I have said on numerous occassions before in this blog a comprehensive overhaul of social care funding is needed immediately to stop the poor pay and condition that both drives staff away and makes new recruitment near impossible.

Apparently the NHS England’s own Workforce Implementation Plan is expected next month. My guess is that is being ripped up and binned as we speak along with the aspirations of the recent NHS Long Term Plan

To download the report in full GO HERE

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How to…Reduce and Manage Delirium

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I missed posting completely last week… first time in a long while. This week though I have to mention Delirium, because March 13th was World Delirium Awareness Day 2019. If you want to know more about this day¬†CLICK HERE¬†

Delirium or (Sudden onset confusion) can have many different causes. If a person is confused, they may:

  • not be able to think or speak clearly or quickly
  • not know where they are (feel disorientated)
  • struggle to pay attention or remember things
  • see or hear things that aren’t there (hallucinations)

To check if it is delirium, try asking the person their name, their age and today’s date. If they seem unsure or can’t answer you, they probably need medical help immediately. It’s a very common symptom and is one of¬†the most common medical emergencies. In hospitals, the prevalence is around 20% in adult acute general medical patients, and higher in particular groups, 75% of patients in intensive care; 50% of those who have a hip fracture. So it is worth knowing as much as you can about it and how it should be treated. This year’s Delirium Awareness Day; See #WDAD2019¬†was very significant because the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) published the first evidence-based guideline on Risk Reduction and management of Delirium. If you are a healthcare worker in any setting then you really need to download and read the Full Guidance and keep the Quick Reference Guide that can download from THIS PAGE handy.

So if you are one of my students then that’s two items you need to remember SIGN 157 and NICE’s NG97

 

Social Care Workers in Scotland Put Up With Unfair Conditions

 

PUBLICATION-Social-care-report-01-FINAL-VERSION-sent-to-APS_revised-on...-1-pdfMost people probably missed this because as always this issue didn’t seem to be widely discussed. However, if you want to have a dedicated, committed and well-trained workforce you shouldn’t be undervaluing and treating the current workforce badly. Although this report is about the situation in Scotland it’s just as relevant to the whole of the UK and quite probably much of Europe and the Rest of the World

On 26th February 2019 the Fair Work Convention in Scotland published its report Fair Work in Scotland’s Social Care Sector 2019.

The report calls for urgent interventions by policy makers, commissioners and leaders in the social care sector to improve the quality of work and employment for the 200,000 strong workforce in Scotland. The social care workforce represents 7.7% of the total workforce Рabout 82% of them women. They include home care workers, residential carers, social workers, nurses and childcare staff.

The report highlights that many people are on precarious contracts in a sector in which they have little power or influence. Women told the Convention team that they enjoy being involved in people’s lives and like that they make a positive difference. However, society needs to value social care as a profession.

There is considerable use of zero-hours contracts, underemployment and seasonal contracts. The report says that staff also frequently worked beyond contracted hours and did unpaid overtime.

The convention, which advises the Scottish Government, called for a watchdog to monitor working conditions and draft a “fair work” contract. It also needs to take urgent action to bring about a radical overhaul of social care and to use fair work principles to drive high-quality services for some of our most vulnerable people.

This report goes on to makes recommendations about how to realise fair work for social care workers by setting out what policy makers, commissioners and leaders in Scotland’s social care sector can and should do.

The 18-month study was led by the chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland Henry Simmons and Lilian Macer from Unison.

To download and read the report go to https://www.fairworkconvention.scot/our-report-on-fair-work-in-social-care/

You might also want to look at the following report from the Scottish Social Services Council

The Scottish Social Service Sector: Report on 2017 Workforce Data, An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

Let’s hope that this report and the work of the convention will start to change the situation in Scotland at least.