I am the programme leader for the MSc in Gerontology and Later Life Studies at the University of the West of Scotland. You can find out more about the programme I run at http://www.uws.ac.uk/mscgerontologyandlaterlifestudies/ . 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 and I'll share here.
A new report from Carers UK, published today reveals that due to a lack of appropriate support in the community, unpaid carers are reluctantly taking their loved ones to A&E. The charity’s report called “Pressure Points” comes juts as the NHS in the UK prepares for its annual challenge of increased A&E visits and hospital admissions during the winter months. The carers they surveyed identified serious difficulties accessing primary and community support services, with 1 in 5 saying they felt that they had no option but to take their loved one to A&E because it was impossible to see a district nurse or a GP out of hours. One in ten said that they didn’t know where else to go.
At a time when there is a huge need to reduce the demand for acute hospital services, it seems very sad that community services are either missing or difficult to access. to get an idea of the need to tackle this issue it is worth noting that NHS England (2016) released figures that show that there were over 500,000 more visits to A&E in the first quarter of 2016 than the same period in the previous year. Are we heading for a crisis? You had better hope for a warm winter!
Another story of note this week is the use of Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS); particularly Ibuprofen. As always when big news stories like this hit the newspapers and other media it’s a good idea to go and look at a website called “Behind the Headlines” Behind the headlines is run by NHS Choices and what it does is critique and evaluate the actual materials that the headline stories are based on and as they usually do a really good job of telling you what you really ought to know, before you swallow the hype. They haven’t disappointed this week as their evaluation appeared yesterday (Sept. 29th.). So to examine the evidence and not the hype go to http://www.nhs.uk/news/2016/09September/Pages/Ibuprofen-like-painkillers-linked-to-an-increased-risk-of-heart-failure.aspx
Please share this story with any concerned friends and colleagues or anyone you know with heart failure.
The search for Scotland’s most innovative and ambitious dementia projects is over with six groups from across the country now crowned as winners in this year’s Scotland’s Dementia Awards, at a ceremony held at the Glasgow Marriott Hotel last week. Now in its 5th year, the awards programme, a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland, NHS Education for […]
Well, a busy week if you have an interest in all things Dementia. Firstly congratulations to my colleagues at UWS on winning the Best Educational Initiative at the Scottish Dementia Awards yesterday, the School also won one of the runner’s up awards in the same category and special mention to my friend and Colleague Margaret Brown on receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Dementia care and education over many years. More information about the event can be found at:
Wednesday was World Dementia Awareness Day and it is on this day that the World Alzheimers Report is published. This year’s report is very relevant to most readers of this Blog as it is about “Improving healthcare for people living with dementia: Coverage, quality and costs now and in the future.” This report reviews research evidence on the elements of healthcare for people with dementia, and, using economic modelling, suggests how it should be improved and made more efficient. Still to read it myself but as you might expect it is highly likely to have an impact on some of the things that I teach. For an overview and to download the report go to World Alzheimer’s Report 2016
Yesterday also saw the launch of a new study that hopes to improve the success rate of research trials for treatments in Alzheimer’s disease. The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study will see the most thorough series of tests to detect this disease ever performed on volunteers. The study was announced by the Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research.For more details about this see:
Finally, on an almost totally different note Alzheimers Scotland launched the world’s first Alzheimer’s Tartan. So if you are looking for an unusual present that helps others maybe this is it… See: http://alzscot.tartanonline.com/ for more details.
Now is it actually working? Yesterday saw the publication of a new report investigating the state of social care through the eyes of individuals and families(in England and Wales particularly). It reveals a system struggling to cope. Where:
people have difficulties accessing high-quality care
there is a lack of support for family carers
care packages that are not personalised
there are serious doubts about the sustainability of the social care provider market
there remains a need for a high-quality, trained and motivated workforce that can provide continuity of care.
the continued failure to integrate health and social care is leaving older people trapped in hospital beds.
The Real Lives report, published by the Richmond Group of Charities in partnership with the British Red Cross and the Royal Voluntary Society, sets out the real life experience of seven individuals and families using social care services today.You can download the report here:Real Lives Report 2016
This report is a companion piece to a major report, on “Social Care for Older People: Home Truths”, also published yesterday by the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust. To read more about this report and download a copy go to:
They don’t make for very pleasant reading but the time for government and everyone else to act is now.
This is also a good opportunity to draw your attention to the latest Age UK Campaign which is about the threat to change the rules around the provision of Attendance Allowance. Attendance Allowance in the UK is a weekly payment that helps older disabled people meet some of the extra costs they face. It’s a vital means of support that assists hundreds of thousands of older people to stay independent in their own homes. It is currently threatened by plans to devolve responsibility for payments to local councils which will mean as always different rules in different areas depending on the financial state of your council’s budgets
To voice your concern about this and finds out more , go the link to Age UK’s “Help protect Attendance Allowance Campaign” which is given below
Since its still World Alzheimers Month, I’ll start by looking at Dementia. There is a great Dementia Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that you can join this month which is run by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania. This MOOC is one of the best known in this field and if you know anyone who is a carer of someone with a dementia or you would like to know more yourself the MOOC is still enrolling up until 23rd September 2016, 5:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). That’s 7am. GMT (they are 10 hours ahead). To enrol go to:
Something else that’s quite interesting that I came across this week are new ‘home from hospital’rooms for patients with dementia that have been designed by nurses. The new rooms were created for Pinderfields Hospital, near Wakefield , in Mid Yorkshire in the UK and are designed to provide a dignified and compassionate environment for people who need extra support from their loved ones. You can have a look at the rooms on line at:
It is worth considering why this might be the case. Some insight into this issue is provided by a recent National Audit Office (NAO) Report looking at Discharging Older People from Hospital. Back in May they published a detailed report that highlighted that although hospitals are financially incentivised to reduce discharge delays, there were no similar incentives for community health and local authorities to speed up receiving patients discharged from hospital amongst other things. You can download a summary of the NAO findings at:
For those of you who aren’t familiar with older people’s care issues September is always World Alzheimer’s Month, so don’t be too surprised if my posts this month are all focused on different aspects of Dementia because quite a lot of new material appears at this time. So I’ll start with the obvious. The Alzheimer’s International World Alzheimer’s Month Page has opened and they have a great video and infographic that you can view and share and a number of other resources that you can use to spread the word. Go to World Alzheimer’s Month to take a look at and use their resources.
Later in the month the latest World Alzheimer Report 2016 will be launched by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) in partnership with King’s College London and London School of Economics on the 20 September 2016. The following day, i.e. 21 September is World Alzheimer’s Day so expect more to be published via the ADI website.
Its also worth noting that World Suicide Prevention Day is a bit closer as it is on the 10 September, 2016. Again this day has its own website which is run by the organisation , the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), which is supported by WHO. The resources and information to support this day are available at: