It’s Allied Health Professions Day! Let’s Celebrate Their Work #AHPsDay #AHPsDayScot #ProudToBeAHP

There are fourteen different healthcare roles recognised as Allied Health Professionals (AHPs); each one of them carrying out an important role in the lives of the people that they are caring for. If you want to find out more about the 14 professions see the following page at Health Careers

So this week rather than focusing on a paper or a topic that’s in the news let’s  just highlight what the 14 professions do and how they make a difference.

As part of the day a Google site has been created and on the site is a whole lot of material of use to help people understand AHP roles and the contributions they make. The site can be found HERE 

It includes video, NHS Recruitment information, some materials from the AHP’s  professional bodies and some teaching materials.

The Nursing Midwifery and Allied Professions group at NHS Education for Scotland have also released a series of videos from their AHP staff on the programmes that they are currently involved in which you can view at https://twitter.com/NESnmahp

This week the Alzheimers Scotland Blog “Lets Talk About Dementia” are also running a serieds of Blogs on AHP contributions to Dementia care which you can access at https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/

So lots to celebrate and be proud of if you are an AHP. AND if you are an AHP reading this Blog have a great day and keep up the good work!

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Identifying and Managing Frailty in Care Homes

People in care homes are the most likely group of people in society to experience Frailty. However the Registered Nurses working in care homes are the least likely to receive any education or training specifically targeting frailty issues. They are though, a crucial component of care delivery to frail older people and are in an excellent position to support frail people who have complex care needs and comorbidities and are at risk of unplanned admissions to secondary care (because that is what they are doing every day).

Identification of frailty is important because aspects of the factors contributing to it may be reversible.

In July an article by Lynn Craig, a Senior Lecturer, Northumbria University and Clinical Development Managerwith North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, published an article

Craig, L., 2019. The role of the registered nurse in supporting frailty in care homes. British Journal of Nursing28(13), pp.833-837.

In the article she explores frailty and the role of the nurse in assessing for frailty particularly in relation to 4 aspects, nutrition status, polypharmacy, exercise and cognitive function; areas which she suggests nurses could target in order to better support reducing the negative health outcomes of frailty.

Usually I’d provide a link to let you see the article for yourself but this time you will need to look for it and download it yourself.

If this has sparked an interest in frailty you should probably look at

Janet’s story: Frailty. which is an NHS RightCare resource that compares a suboptimal care pathway with an ideal pathway. which you will find at https://www.england.nhs.uk/rightcare/products/ltc/ 

Older People Are Concerned About Climate Change Too!

Thousands of young people are taking part in school strikes across Scotland and around the world today to demand urgent action on climate change. The protests are the latest in a series of strikes started a year ago by 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, which have have now spread across 150 countries. Today’s action is the largest so far. Events are planned in all of many of the UK’s major cities, many towns and some islands including Iona and Skye.

What is often forgotten though is that older people are disproportionately affected by climate change.

The relationship is very clear. In cold weather extremes and in heatwaves and in any other kind of extreme weather or natural disaster, its older people that experience the most morbidity and mortality. Essentially older people have fewer resources to deal with disaster and they can’t get out of harm’s way fast enough.

For an example nearly half of the individuals who died during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were 75 or older. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, almost half of those who died were over 65.

A New York Times article, reproduced recently in the Independent called them the “forgotten generation”. Not just because they were forgotten in disasters but also because they were an untapped resource. Baby boomers, because of their huge numbers and voting power have great potential to make a difference to this protest movement.

Age International and Help Age International have been very aware of the problems of older people during disasters and even a quick look at Age Internationals Emergency Aid page (CLICK HERE) and this article by Help Age International (CLICK HERE) will give you a clearer idea of just how disproportionately they are effected.

Rather ironically the best resource that I could find explaining the impact of climate change on older people’s health is from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Called ‘Climate Change and the Health of Older  Adults’ you can download it here!  

Reducing Type 2 Diabetes Through Weight Loss Alone

This is a bit of a departure for me as I have picked something that’s not necessarily relevant to older people but more relevant I think to the people who might read this Blog. Thanks to UNIVADIS for bringing this to my attention.

We often hear that Type 2 diabetes (T2D) can be avoided by losing weight and altering your diet, See Understand Your Risk but what if you have Type 2 diabetes already!

How much weight reduction is required to achieve T2D remission?

A recent paper published by a team from the University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, conducted a study that looked at this question and found that achieving weight loss of ≥10% within a few years of getting a T2D diagnosis is strongly associated with remission at 5 years. About a third of people who managed this achieved remission.

Why this matters

  • About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, a number likely to more than double in the next 20 years. Type 2 accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. Reports of Type 2 diabetes in children have increased globally (WHO 2019)
  • Previous studies have shown that T2D remission is possible with intensive caloric restriction/lifestyle intervention, but few have addressed less-intensive interventions.

Study design

  • Prospective cohort study of 730 people aged 40-69 years newly diagnosed with T2D

Key results

  • Diabetes remission (HbA1c <48 mmol/mol; 6.5%), without any diabetes medication or bariatric surgery, was achieved in 257 participants (30%).
  • Those achieving remission were more often male, smokers, and with full-time education beyond age 16 years.
  • Compared with no weight change and after adjustments, people who lost ≥10% of body weight in first year after diagnosis were significantly more likely to achieve T2D remission at 5 years (risk ratio, 1.77; P<.01).
  • Remission likelihood was non-significantly increased for 5%-10% weight loss (risk ratio, 1.24; P=.17).
  • In subsequent 1-5 years, ≥10% weight loss was also associated with remission (risk ratio, 2.43; P<.01).
  • No consistent patterns of associations between unit changes in health behaviours (energy intake, physical activity, etc.) and T2D remission.
  • The study was conducted within a primarily white population.
  • Funding was published by Wellcome Trust; Medical Research Council and the UK National Institute for Health Research.

You can access the whole paper via

Dambha-Miller H, Day AJ, Strelitz J, Irving G, Griffin SJ. (2019) Behaviour change, weight loss and remission of Type 2 diabetes: a community-based prospective cohort study. Diabetic Medicine. 2019 Sep 3 [Epub ahead of print] at  doi: 10.1111/dme.14122. PMID: 31479535

#LetsTalkAboutDementia

Today is September 1st and this is the start of World Alzheimer’s Month

World Alzheimer’s Month is an international campaign which aims to raise awareness about dementia and this year it will specifically focus on challenging the stigma about Dementia that persists globally.

The ‘Let’s Talk About Dementia’ campaign encourages that often difficult first conversation and highlights the importance continuing to talk about and discuss dementia – to normalise the language and help to take away the fear.  It encourages people to seek out more information, help, advice and support.

To mark World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September, Alzheimers Disease International  (ADI) will also be releasing this year’s World Alzheimer Report.

This year the report draws on the results of a survey conducted by ADI and the London School of Economics (LSE), which focuses on attitudes towards dementia. The survey, saw nearly 70,000 responses from 155 countries, is the largest ever undertaken on the subject.

According to ADI CEO, Paola Barbarino: “A key finding in the survey shows that 2 out of 3 people that responded still think that dementia is caused by normal ageing. We must break through the stigma and get people talking openly about dementia to plan well and to access support.”

Alongside further results from the survey, the report will also contain essays from experts and case studies.

Everyday Ageism! Time to #retireageism

According to a new report published last week, which surveyed 4,000 UK adults and analysed thousands of tweets and blogposts in the UK one in 30 people admitted to regularly discriminating against anyone aged over 50 – and more than one in 10 admitted that they don’t even know if they were ageist or not.

More than a third of British people admit that they have discriminated against others because of their age, according to new research on everyday ageism, with those in their 30’s most guilty.

The Ageist Britain? Report published by the Sun Life Group aims to shine a light on the issue of casual ageism and the impact it has.

The report shows that people over 50 are  bombarded with phrases and behaviours which imply that life as an older person must be awful. Language is particularly revealing with “Old fart”, “little old lady”, “bitter old man” and “old hag” used frequently in conversation and on social media

Everyday ageism has an impact on mental health with growing awareness that this ageist societal narrative negatively impacts on our personal experiences of ageing and perhaps even our health and well being it can also hasten the onset of dementia and even shorten life expectancy.

The report also found that 40% of British people over 50 regularly experience ageism, with one in three commonly experiencing it at work, one in 10 on public transport, and one in seven while shopping.

As Shelley Hopkinson, public affairs manager at Independent Age said, “Part of the problem is that people often don’t even realise that the language they’re using can be ageist or cause offence”

So what should people in the UK do about this. Well the reports says a good bit more but when the public were asked the top 3 most popular ways people think we can combat ageism are:

• If more brands used different models of all ages for their advertising campaigns (37%)
• If the issues associated with ageism had the same level of attention as racism and sexism (33%)
• If people were more aware of the use of ageist language and avoided derogatory terms (33%)

Registered Nurses Within Social Care

I’ll make my apologies now I am “borrowing” a lot of this from the latest edition of Nursing Older People but its a subject close to my heart, the lack of recognition given to nurses working in the social care sector (and that includes care homes). Its estimated that around 42,000 UK nurses work in social care for voluntary, private and state sectors employers. Unfortunately the turnover rate in this sector is excessive (around 30%) and about 5,000 post lie vacant, which is not a happy position  to be in.

Last week Skills for Health (England), published a new document called “Registered Nurses: Recognising the Responsibilities and Contribution of  Registered Nurses Within Social Care”. The document sets out to provide a description of the complex role nurses undertake and demonstrates the way that they not only use all of their nursing knowledge, but also contribute to important national health and social care agendas.

It was developed in consultation with registered nurses and the people they support, plus other professionals who work in and with the adult social care sector, and colleagues who work with the nursing regulatory framework. 

You can download the document and accompanying infographic HERE

The Myth busting video is here and well worth a watch