This week we are going to have look at a new initiative being promoted by NHS England, which has come from Dr. Amit Arora, a consultant geriatrician at the University Hospital of North Midlands, who has served as Chairman of England Council of the British Geriatrics Society. He and his team have developed the campaign “Sit up, Get Dressed, Keep Moving” which is being adopted in many NHS hospitals and abroad. It’s worth clicking on the link at the bottom of Dr. Arora’s blog for NHS England are some great resources including information leaflets that you can use.
We should all really be supporting this campaign since older people, the core users of NHS stand to benefit most from this campaign. During hospitalization older people can spend up to 83% of their time sitting in bed and often a further 12% in a chair. Patients, therefore, become deconditioned with deconditioning starting within the first 24 hours.
There is a bit of controversy about the campaign already but the BGS allowed Dr. Arora to respond on their blog and that also makes a very interesting read, See Why is everyone talking about it?
There is also a little bit of a Twitter storm if you want to know more. See #endpjparalysis and
Comments welcome, particularly if you are a Physiotherapist or an Occupational Therapist. Arguably this is what you are trying to do every day! Maybe its time you got some real support.
For many years now scientists and drug companies have been looking for drugs that don’t just ameliorate the symptoms of the disease as our current drugs do but ones that can stop the death of neurons, in the presence of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
There have been times when this has been claimed but there has never been any drug that has got through human trials successfully. This week though, this claim has been made for two drugs: trazodone hydrochloride (used to treat depression and anxiety) and dibenzoylmethane (a drug that could be useful for prostate and bowel cancer). Both drugs restored memory, reduced signs of neurodegeneration and were safe for mice in the doses being trialled.
Now the beauty of utilising these drugs is that they have already been tested on humans so if they are as effective, as animal testing seems to suggest, then the process of human testing can be hugely reduced, meaning that clinical trials for both drugs in treating neurodegenerative diseases could start straight away.
Could we be approaching an era where there is a treatment that has a real impact on neurodegenerative illness for the first time? Why not go and make up your own mind about this. On BBC Health there is an item which explains what it is believed the drugs do and some further thoughts on what might happen next. Click here to view
A more in-depth critical look at the claims is contained in Behind the Headlines
Both links take you to the paper which has caused this stir. Let’s hope the outcomes of any trial are positive because its now 20 years since the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor Donepezil (Aricept) was launched.
Earlier this month a new resource called “Staying Sharp” was launched by Age UK. Staying Sharp is a new online hub on brain ageing, which has been developed in collaboration with the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) at the University of Edinburgh.
It has been developed because for many older people, losing their mental sharpness is one of their biggest fears. However, although it is generally accepted that some of our thinking skills, for example, our memory and speed of processing information will change, approximately three-quarters of the changes in our thinking skills across our lives are really down to lifestyle and environmental factors. Many of these factors may be things we can try and control or change which is why the hub has been created.
Staying Sharp is a superb resource for the many people out there who are concerned about losing their thinking skills as they grow older. So please recommend it!
Also found out this week that there is going to be a requirement for GPs to routinely identify frailty in patients as part of the new GP Contract being rolled out in NHS England in 2017-18. Which really begs the question how are they going to identify who is frail.? Well a wee bit of digging and I have come across the following paper:
Development and validation of an electronic frailty index using routine primary care electronic health record data
When tested out this index identified 35 per cent of the population aged 65 and over who have ‘mild’ frailty. Using this tool the intention is to pick up this group using this frailty identification tool in its early stages in order to provide opportunities for the prevention of poor quality ageing. Now just what exactly will that involve?
Oh… hang on… what was that “Staying Sharp” resource about?
Worrying times for UK nursing particularly in England and Wales where the nursing bursary has been scrapped. Figures from UCAS show a worrying drop in applicant numbers at a time when there is a huge shortage of nurses UK wide. Less than a year and clearly it’s already time for a re-think. See Mature students decide against nursing .
I am not sure how many of you will have read about this but I think it is well worth reading about, particularly if you work in an area where no resuscitation team is accessible, care homes particularly.
In January the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC’s) Conduct and Competence Committee (January 2017) ; found against a nurse who did not attempt CPR on, or call the emergency services to, a nursing home resident she believed had already died.
This ruling had caused concern and considerable debate among nurses and other health care professionals who feared the risk of criticism or disciplinary action should they be faced with a similar situation.
Bearing this in mind it is worth reading both of these statements. One from the Resuscitation Council (UK) itself and the other from the RCN.
Resuscitation Council (UK) Statement this is the RCN/BMA Statement
Finally, something else that may have passed you by this week. WHO announced that Depression is now the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. WHO will start a year-long campaign targeting depression called “Depression: let’s talk” which will commence on World Health Day which is today of course! (7th. of April 2017).
Its going to be a bit overshadowed by the launching of Fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles sadly.