News for Nurses’ Day #ThisNurse

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Not Enough Healthcare Staff Here Either!

Well a return to some of the topics that I repeatedly go on about in this blog. So this week saw the release of a groundbreaking paper from Finland (which has very similar staffing levels in their hospitals to UK hospitals), which revealed that having an excessive daily nurse workload increases the risk of patient safety incidents and deaths. The chances of a patient safety incident increased by up to about 30% if nurses’ workload went above what is considered “optimal” levels and the odds of a patient dying increased by about 40%!! As we approach a growing crisis in the UK around nurse numbers, nursing vacancies and difficulties recruiting to the profession this only adds to the call to make nursing a more attractive profession an to introduce safe staffing levels. Not a new message, especially not in my Blog. It is time politicians started listening. This is not going to solve itself while we undervalue all nurses and allied healthcare professionals. If you want to find out more see the Nursing Times and this is the link to the study on BMJ Open .

I am also a big fan of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Signals have created a My Signals page for Nurses. In the My Signals resources service users, in this case nurses, tell you what research is important to them and why they feel others need to know about it. So go take a look by clicking this link. You can find out more about all of  NIHR Signals by clicking here!

Finally tomorrow, Saturday 12th my is International Nurses Day!   There are a list of UK events on the Nurses’ Day page and you can follow #ThisNurse on Twitter.

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A Bad Week All Round

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Some weeks are bad weeks but this week could rank as one of the worst for bad news about the NHS and its relationship with older people in a long time.

Firstly we had the revelation that 450,000 women aged between 68-71 had not been invited to routine breast cancer screening due to a computer error, that has been traced back to 2009!. Public Health England has said that it was not aware of a national problem with the screening programme until January 2018, which seems a bit worrying when they were aware at the same time that screening uptake amongst older women was falling. Watch out for the public inquiry and subsequent report particularly since NHS “everywhere else” didn’t have the same problem. Most people are probably unaware that a full review of the NHS breast screening programme was undertaken in 2012. So if you are affected by this systems failure in any way it’s worth looking at THIS REPORT and making your own mind up about the impact that it may have had on you or your loved one. My concern is that if this had been any other group would it have been noticed sooner and acted upon earlier?

As if that wasn’t bad enough a report released today (May 4th. 2018) is probably worse and even more significant. The annual report for 2017 of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) was released today and did make the national news. Their findings are very worrying and point to problems with institutional discrimination across services dealing with people with learning disabilities to the extent that life expectancy at birth if you have a learning disability is 19.7 years lower than for people without learning disabilities. Equally disturbing is that more than a third of deaths of people with learning disabilities were potentially amenable to health care interventions. Again much more will be said about this in the coming days and months so it’s worth taking a look at the primary source, which you can see and download from THIS SITE.

I haven’t even mentioned the dementia care ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital, in Denbighshire which closed in 2013 and it’s culture of “institutional abuse”. Too sad to go there but if you want to know more see this BBC Wales  TIMELINE

Can Scotland Help? @WeNurses #70nursebloggers

It came to my attention this week that Professor Jane Cummings,  The Chief Nursing Officer for England has called on nursing, midwifery and care staff to help mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS by encouraging more nurses and midwives to blog in order to showcase the fantastic contribution that the profession has made to healthcare over the years. Rather than looking backwards, I thought I’d say something about what is going in Scotland that might inspire our nursing and health and social care colleagues in England. So here goes!

Realistic Medicine was initially discussed as a way forward for the NHS in Scotland by the Cheif Medical Officer Dr Cath Calderwood in 2016. It has become an NHS’ vision for introducing the concept of “realistic medicine” concept and is designed to make sure that by 2025 anyone providing healthcare in Scotland will take a realistic medicine approach. NHS Inform states

 Realistic medicine puts the person receiving health and social care at the centre of decisions made about their care. It encourages health and care workers to find out what matters most to you so that the care of your condition fits your needs and situation. Realistic medicine recognises that a one size fits all approach to health and social care is not the most effective path for the patient or the NHS.

Realistic medicine is not just about doctors. It applies to all professionals who use their skills and knowledge to help people maintain their health and prevent and treat illness. This includes nurses of course, but also pharmacists, physios, OT’s, social work and everyone else. The Chief Medical Officer’s third annual report was published last week but if you want to know more about this approach and its impact you can read this and download the 2018 summary from here

One of the features that is really useful for all nurses and healthcare professionals is the idea of encouraging people to ask 5 questions about their treatment. The 5 questions are given in the image below.

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So a challenge to our nursing colleagues elsewhere spread the word and start encouraging your patients to use the 5 questions.

The second initiative is less uniquely Scottish but it has certainly been having an impact and that’s called “What Matters to You”  This Scotland-wide campaign encourages and supports meaningful conversations between people who provide health and social care and the people, families and carers who receive their care. ‘What Matters to You?’ day started in Norway in 2014 and has been growing internationally since. This year ‘What matters to you?’ day falls on the 6th June 2018, so there is still plenty of time to get involved. Of course, asking “What matters to you?” isn’t a question for just one day its a question that we should ask everyone. As Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer, Fiona McQueen has said,

“The one thing I think that would transform the care that we deliver to people is to listen…… really listen; not just hear what suits us. We need to listen to staff who deliver care and make changes that support them to provide real excellence; but in particular, we need to listen to people who use our services. When we focus on what truly matters to the person and have that ‘what matters to you?’ conversation, that is what will make all the difference”

For a bit of inspiration about personalising healthcare to include what matters, see Why is it important to ask what matters? and  @PersonCntrdSco and if you are on Twitter look for #wmty18

Frailty Resources

age-2785015_960_720Apologies to my MSc in Gerontology students first; because a number of them have just finished their Frailty in Older People Module. So this is too late to help them with their assignment. However, it’s still useful to know its here.

The journal “Age and Ageing” have released a Virtual Edition called “Frailty” that covers many of the main issues in Frailty,  including describing the condition conceptually, reporting its epidemiology, contrasting different options for clinical assessment, detailing the adverse outcomes of frailty in older subjects and some insights into what interventions might improve outcomes for frail older people (and their carers). They have made them available on-line. To have a look at what you can access and to learn a bit more about this important topic CLICK HERE.

Looking forward to next Thursday when Atul Gwande is joining a QI Connect Webinar hosted by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. If you don’t know who Atul Gwande is the I would have a look and listen to these. The Reith Lectures 2014

If you want to join the webinar go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/qi-connect-atul-gawande-tickets-42419687427

What about Home Adaptations? and Frailty at Home.

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This week Myself, Dr Louise Ritchie (@Lourit) and Dr Margaret Brown (@owlbroon) wrote the Blog piece for “Lets Talk About Dementia” a blog hosted and supported by Alzheimer Scotland and led by allied health professionals. Their blog shares the work and practice of the allied health professionals in relation to dementia care. It offers advice for people living with dementia, their carers, partners and families. It is also a great source of information for all health and social care professionals. So our piece published on it about Housing and Dementia in Scotland can be found HERE

If you have a particular interest in ageing well in place  you might also want to look at the Centre for Better Ageing Report on the Role of Home Adaptations on Improving Later Life which you can find at their page on  Living in a suitable home and neighbourhood

Lastly this week one of my UWS Colleagues Susie Gamble and Brendan Martin, Managing Director, Public World and Buurtzorg, Britain & Ireland and Barbara McFadzean, District Nursing Sister/Queen’s Nurse, Crosshouse, Ayrshire are leading an International Foundation for Integrated Care Scotland Webinar next week on Wednesday 18th April 2018 between 12 pm-1pm.   They will be discussing the role of the District Nurse in managing people with frailty in the community. There is some further information on the site below, along with a link to register for the Webinar.

https://integratedcarefoundation.org/events/webinar-series-integrated-care-matters-series-2-2

The webinar will be recorded and will be at the IFIC site afterwards to listen to.

Worldwide, Older People’s Rights Continue to be Denied

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In a new report published by  HelpAge International launched to coincide with World Health Day 2018 (which is tomorrow, 7th of April 2018) older people explore their right to be able to make their own decisions and live their lives according to their own values and preferences. The report called Freedom to Decide for Ourselves,  brings together the findings from a consultation with 450 older people in 24 countries to find out their perspectives on their rights to autonomy and independence, long-term care and palliative care.

Yet again this report has found that as people age, the autonomy and independence they enjoyed earlier in their lives is often denied by the negative, ageist attitudes of those who believe older women and men are unable to make their own decisions, or disregard their choices when they do.

Shockingly the reported ageism was especially evident in older people’s health and socila care. Many participants said there was a lack of access to comprehensive long-term care and support services within their communities or, if they existed, the cost makes them unaffordable to everyone who isn’t on a high income. This leaves families as the only providers and when this is the case it is often at the cost of an older person’s control over their care.

HelpAge International are calling for a UN convention to protect older people’s rights and have a campaign called Age Demands Action which is working to achieve this goal.  Why not add your voice as they suggest!

Ireland has a Say No To Ageism Week. Seems like a good idea to me. This year it’s June 4th to 8th 2018!

So What Does “…to Live Well with Dementia” Mean?

Firstly, Happy Easter to you all and I hope you are enjoying a great weekend, even if it is somewhat chilly here in Scotland.

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Last month quite quietly I think Age Concern published a new report entitled “Promising Approaches to Living Well with Dementia” which sets out to illustrate what it might means to live well with dementia in the UK currently. It is full of examples of interesting approaches which are already in place in some parts of this country, but as the report makes clear up and down the country there is a need to reduce the current postcode lottery that exists when you go looking for the help and services highlighted here. Please take a look and be inspired. There is no clear reason why what is discussed here is not available to all.

Good news for nurses in England this week as the new pay deal got another step closer to happening. Will it make you feel more valued? Will it make up for the years of enforced pay restraint? Probably not but at least it’s in line with inflation rather than below inflation. For details of the deal see RCN Nursing Pay  Now, what about everyone else working for the NHS and beyond?

Finally don’t miss your chance to visit the Age and Ageing journal who are currently publishing a free online collection of 15 papers to provide an update on the advances of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions in dementia over the last 15 years.

So go and download something interesting to read in between the Hot Cross Buns, Prosecco and Chocolate! 🐣🐰🥂🍾