I am the programme leader for the MSc in Gerontology and MSc in Gerontology (with Dementia Care) @uwshealth. You can find out more about the programme and pathway I run at https://www.uws.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-course-search/gerontology-gerontology-with-dementia-care/ This blog is designed to highlight older people's issues and issues around older people's care. I will make a new post every Friday but we all have eyes and we all have views, so if there is anything that you think others should know about please add to the comments for sharing here.
Despite their importance though you’d be hard-pressed to know they were available.
So there is now a guide to reducing long hospital stays and further guidance on falls and falls prevention and you probably haven’t even noticed.
So first of all reducing long hospital stays. In NHS England, nearly 350,000 patients currently spend over three weeks in acute hospitals each year. Many are older people with a reduced functional ability (frailty) or who have a cognitive impairment. The benefits to the UK NHS and other healthcare systems of reducing hospital bed occupancy are clear. However, as everyone knows trying to achieve this is very difficult, particularly during the winter pressure for beds. So what can be done?
Their guide is primarily aimed at acute and community trusts, but also makes reference to how system partners can play a supporting role.
Also this week (yesterday June 14th.) Public Health England’s Guide on Falls was updated. Called Falls: applying All Our Health the guide includes core principles for healthcare professionals to follow and a large number of resources and examples of good practice from some key national agencies. Click on the link and go and explore, and see if you can adopt some of the measures suggested or check if you are doing these already.
So if these are such an important phenomenon to tackle why did these document releases not get more publicity?
Today the Royal Society for Public Health, here in the UK has published a report called “That Age Old Question” which examines how our attitudes to ageing can affect our health and wellbeing. Sad to say of course that they conclude that societal Ageism is well and truly with us and have listed 10 key recommendations from the report on their website at That Age Old Question
I think the worrying thing for me is the reported attitudes of younger people who seem to either believe a number of myths about ageing or accept them as truth! We also seem to have created a culture that is still obsessed with trying to stay young looking. The RSHP is calling for an end to the use of the term “anti-ageing” because I am sorry to say there is no such thing (but don’t forget your sunscreen and give up the fags).
To download the full report and watch a video about the report CLICK HERE
Well, if that depresses you then here is some inspiration for Dementia Awareness Week in Scotland #DAW2018 If you haven’t seen it, the winner of NHS Patient Award for Nursing and Midwifery was Fiona Chaabane. Fiona works with people with cognitive disorders focusing on Young-onset Dementias. To find out more about her, and her work Click Here
She features from 8:00 mins through to 16:12 mins.
A blog piece from Susan Holland, Dementia Nurse Consultant at NHS Ayrshire and Arran who also works with us here @uwshealth and @AlzScotCPP. This was written for the Alzheimer’s Scotland Blog “Let’s Talk about Dementia” which I have contributed to previously. Another appropriate message for #DAW2018 in Scotland. Blogging is so much easier when others do the work for you !! Thanks, Susan.
Improving outcomes for people with dementia within acute care settings has long been recognised as a commitment by the Scottish Government. Yet, with the recent launch of Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy (2017-2020) (Scottish Government, 2017), there is recognition that although significant progress has been made over the last ten years, wide variations in dementia care and treatment remain evident across Scotland.
People with dementia are estimated to occupy approximately 25% of acute hospital beds (Alzheimer Research UK, 2018) and are known to have longer lengths of stay and poorer outcomes than people who do not have dementia. With a growing ageing population and incidence of dementia, there is no doubt that acute hospital settings require ongoing support to meet current and future dementia care needs.
Person-centredness is at the heart of high-quality dementia care provision. This involves knowing the person and tailoring care to meet their personal abilities, needs, likes…
Starting tomorrow, 4th June 2018, it is Scottish Dementia Awareness Week 2018. Alzheimer Scotland has online information about Dementia Awareness Week 2018. In their blog Let’s Talk About Dementia you will find out about what the Society is doing online during this week. The Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice (ASCPP), which is based […]
Good news this week that more than twice as many people over 75 use the internet as they did in 2011. But despite this rapid increase, millions of people in later life are not online. The UK Office of National Statistics released figures this week that showed 4.8 million people over the age of 55 are not online – making up 91% of all ‘non-users’. As a result, they are at risk of missing out on essential services as these continue to move online, and companies increasingly offer online-only deals.
The problem, of course, is that those not online are people with the lowest levels of wealth, health and education. In other words the very people most likely to benefit from crossing the digital divide and getting online.
A report by the Centre for Better Ageing and the digital charity the Good Things Foundation released this week urges the government, companies and organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable people don’t get locked out of essential services and benefits particularly since a number of people may be digitally excluded for many years to come. As the report concludes;
“It is easy to think that with the increasing digitisation of society everyone will eventually be online, and so the digital divide will simply fade away. In fact, the opposite is true. As our services and interactions become ever more digitised, the digital divide between the most and least advantaged in society will grow and may become amplified across the life course.We need to take action now to prevent this gap between the digital haves and have-nots from becoming entrenched.”
To access the full report and the Centre’s views of “The digital age: new approaches to supporting people in later life get online” Click Here
I owe my followers an apology. I have missed two weeks in a row for the very first time! Found myself subject to #DigitalExclusion in Crete.
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.
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