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.
First of all my heart goes out to everyone caught up in last nights tragedy in Barcelona, a city which I visited for the first time very recently. There are no words to express the shock and horror that will be felt by anyone who lost a loved one. My deepest felt sympathy to everyone affected.
The last few weeks I have concentrated too much perhaps on both dementia and Scotland so today I’ll thank Margo Stewart the Nursing Subject Librarian here at UWS for sharing this with me.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Dissemination Centre has a page called “Discover the Latest Research” where they release a series of reports called NIHR Signals. NIHR Signals are timely summaries of the most important research that aim to cut through the noise and provide decision makers and others with research evidence they can use. You can find out more about them here and by watching the video!
Recently the Dissemination Centre launched a new series called ‘My Signals’ where patients, service users and health and social care staff can comment and add their perspectives to Signals summaries of research. It’s not obvious how you do this but if you open the Signal you want to read you will find within it a menu that consists of:
Signal Published Abstract Definitions Comments
Click on the comments link and you can both see what been said and add your own comments.
They are particularly interested in the views of patients and have created a guide to encourage them to contribute My Signals – Patients
The next editions of ‘My Signals’ will feature a Director of Public Health (in September) and three GPs (in October). Further editions will feature the views of surgeons, of nurses and of physiotherapists, so a site worth keeping an eye on.
Note also it’s a brilliant resource presenting easy to understand information, like NHS Choice’s Behind the Headlines which I have posted about before.
A few weeks ago I blogged about attending a public lecture on issues related to end of life care in hospitals in three different countries. What I should have added the was that around the same time NHS Education for Scotland and Scottish Social Service Council also published a new framework to support the learning and development needs of the health and social service workforce in Scotland. The new framework is part of addressing the 10 commitments made by the Scottish Government to be met by 2021 with regard to Palliative and End of Life Care and can be found at the NHS Palliative and End of Life Care Community of Practice page which you can click here to view.
This week also saw Channel 4 in the UK showing quite an unusual programme on an intergenerational experiment to introduce children into a care home and film what happens. One of the doctors involved in setting up the experiment was Dr Zoe Wyrko, a Consultant physician at University Hospital Birmingham and she has written about her experience and the programme on the British Geriatric Society’s Blog. See Old People’s Home for 4-year-olds
This week Susan Shenkin one of the editors for the British Geriatrics Society’s (BGS) Age and Ageing Journal has written the BGS’s Blog page. What she is writing about is her recent article in the journal that aims to provide guidance for people conducting systematic reviews relevant to the healthcare of older people.
If you are a student of mine doing your Masters please take note. This is great guidance for you to follow particularly as you head towards your dissertation. While the guidance is really there for review teams, it embraces a number of principles and contains some good tips that you could easily follow To see Susan’s Blog post go here.
To download the article (which is Open Access) Click the link below
This week also saw the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT’s) publish their new report which is calling on the NHS and Local Authorities to refocus health and social care services. They warn that unless there is a shift from a ‘high volume, low cost’ approach to care, to one which sees the whole person’s overall wellbeing services will struggle to meet future demands.
In its report, the RCOT’s seeks to show how doing the right thing for individuals can
actually, reduce their need for expensive care long-term. It calls for an end to the postcode lottery in access to occupational therapy which is a barrier to people in need receiving high quality, person-centred care that enables people to stay as active, independent and safe as possible. For more details about their new report and to download the document go to Living, not Existing: Putting prevention at the heart of care for older people
I am always reluctant to post bad news about UK Care Homes because the negative publicity they receive is often underserved and reflects very poorly on most of the staff I meet from this sector of healthcare that do an amazing job, with far less support and money than their NHS counterparts. However, it was difficult to ignore this week the CQC which has suggested that 1 in 3 care homes in England may not be ‘safe’ with inspectors also noting they had a particular problem recruiting and retaining nurses.
A more interesting take on this is provided by one of my favourite Blogs, written by a man caring for his wife who has Dementia called Remember Me: Seeking the Good Life. To see what he has to say on the topic go to “Dementia Care Homes – The Futility of Inspection”
The obvious question now is how does Scotland fair in comparison? You get some idea from the raw data at the Care Commission Website Are we really in the same country?
After the negatives how about a positive in the same field. This is from England’s My Home Life Blog which is full of great stories and ideas for Care Homes and the particular Blog I am selecting Award Winning Service Share Their Learning is in very sharp contrast to all the usual reports of bad care. Enjoy reading this and exploring the site further.
Other big news was the publication of Scotland’s Third National Dementia Strategy 2017-2020. which although a little later than expected has finally arrived! To read about and download the strategy click here
Alzheimers Scotland’s comments on the new strategy can be viewed by clicking this link
Part of the new strategy is a commitment to test new ways of supporting people with advanced dementia and at the end of life including testing Alzheimers Scotland’s Advanced Dementia Practice Model. Very timely for the team here at UWS, as advanced dementia is a key theme throughout our new programme.
This week the team I work with were involved in the publication of a new report looking at the preparedness of Scotland’s housing to deal with the increasing numbers of people living with dementia. Called “Being Home: An overview of the current housing situation for people affected by dementia in Scotland” it Is the first report of its type done in the UK that I am aware of. Very timely too as the UK begins to examine the emerging crisis it faces with regard to social housing in the wake of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower Block in London. To download the report go to this link.
I also attended a public lecture this week which looked at comparing work done on the likelihood of dying within a year after hospital admission in Scotland; with work done in both Denmark and New Zealand. Sounds depressing I know, but it gives you wonderful insight into just how frail our hospital population truly is.
What was really good about this wasn’t just the insight about international frailty it was finding out about the work of Merryn Gott and her team in NZ. Very inspiring, so I am going to suggest taking a look at her research team’s Blog which you can find by clicking on this link
The Te Arai Research Group which she is part of focuses on palliative care and end of life research and are located at the University of Auckland. Her own view of the public lecture in Glasgow that I was at can be found on the group’s blog at this location
At the end of April 2017, I posted some information about a campaign aimed at trying to limit the extent of deconditioning syndrome by encouraging older people in hospital to get up and get dressed in their day clothes sooner in order to encourage more walking and safer walking early in rehabilitation called #EndPJparalysis . In support of this campaign, this month Nursing Older People’s Research Focus page suggests some articles that you might want to read on this topic that support the campaign. Two of them are quite old but one is a recent French study has a strong message for all staff dealing with older people in Hospital. The article is
Sourdet, S., Lafont, C., Rolland, Y., Nourhashemi, F., Andrieu, S. and Vellas, B. (2015). Preventable iatrogenic disability in elderly patients during hospitalisation. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 16(8), pp.674-681.
Which you can access via Science Direct. You can take a look at the abstract here
Two other things of note this month. This week is Carers week and an interesting YouGov poll was conducted on behalf of eight major charities who are calling on the new UK Government and society to do more to recognise the important contribution that unpaid carers make. You can view and download the report called “Building a carer
friendly society” at the Carers Week website
Finally, yesterday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the WHO have estimated that as many as 1 in 6 older people are affected by abuse. They have created a page in support of this day that includes a link to a report published in Lancet Global Health which you can download and read on elder abuse prevalence at WHO Elder Abuse Awareness