UK’s First Map of Cancer Care Support

Apologies, my Blog went missing again last week and it was nothing to do with Christmas shopping.

This week I thought I’d let you know about about a new resource which might be helpful to a number of people, health care professionals, carers and people facing up to cancer in particular.

After a successful trial, the UK’s first comprehensive directory of cancer support services, The Cancer Care Map was launched earlier this year. It helps people find cancer care and support services in their local area, whether National Health Service, charity or community-led. The directory is regularly updated and is accessible online HERE

This might not be the best time of year to try and run around organising new services but if my post make a difference to one person’s life in 2020 then that’s a success!

In the meantime I wish all my Blog Followers and reader’s a very Merry Christmas. I’ll try and post next Friday but no promises…

Music-xmas-tree-300x286

New Website for @RealisticMed Launched

A new website dedicated to practising Realistic Medicine has been launched this week. Realistic medicine refers to putting the person receiving health and social care at the centre of decisions about their care and creates a personalised approach. It encourages health and care workers to find out what matters most to their patients and clients so that the care of their condition fits their needs and situation. Realistic medicine recognises that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to health and social care is not the most effective approach for the patient or for the NHS.

Its important to older people because it encourages services to adapt to the way in which people with multiple, complex and frequently changing conditions require to access care and support. Those people are primarily over 65. Current models of healthcare services are stretched and there is need to re-examine how we can deliver person-centred and integrated healthcare that embraces both statutory and non-statutory agencies. Cath Calderwood, the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland has said, realistic medicine involves

  • Listening to understand patients problems and preferences;
  • Shared decision making between healthcare professionals and their patients;
  • Ensuring that patients have all the understandable information they need to make an informed choice;
  • Moving away from the ‘doctor knows best’ culture to ensure a more equal partnership with people;
  • Supporting healthcare professionals to be innovative, to pursue continuous quality improvement and to manage risk better;
  • Reducing the harm and waste caused by both over-provision and under-provision of care;
  • Identifying and reducing unwarranted variation in clinical practices

The new website which you can access HERE, features resources, good practice case studies and the contact details of Realistic Medicine Leads within the NHS Scotland Boards.

Helping To Prevent Winter Deaths

Every year that I have been running this Blog round about this time of year I make a post about the alarming rate of UK excess winter deaths. For example this is my post on this topic from last year  https://raymondsolderpeopleblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/the-ongoing-tragedy-of-the-uks-excess-winter-deaths/

However this year something different and something positive.

This month NICE and SCIE have worked together to produce A quick guide for home care managers aimed at helping to prevent winter deaths and illnesses associated with cold homes.

You can access the new resource HERE!

As they note, vulnerable people, living in a cold homes are at an increased risk of serious illness or death at this time of year. There new guide explains how some simple preventative actions can help to save people’s lives. They emphasise that care home managers and staff can play an important role in preventing harm caused by a lack of heating.

I think this guide is useful for everyone, not just for Social Care staff so I would urge everyone looking after an older person to take a look and perhaps download and print the pdf version of this guide available from the resources webpage.

Let’s try and get these tragic statistics down.

 

Comorbidity and Dementia in England

If you know me or have to sit through my classes; you will know that I have a keen interest in multimorbidity and its impact on older people. So this week I have to mention that Public Health England (PHE) published a report with findings from an analysis of a sample of anonymised primary care records highlighting the prevalence of diagnosed comorbidities in people living with dementia (in England).

The comorbidities considered in the analysis were hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA), diabetes, depression, severe mental illness or psychosis, Parkinsonism, epilepsy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. The data set used for the analysis was the Health Improvement Network (THIN).

Key findings from the report revealed that

  • 77% of people living with dementia also had at least one other health condition that is mentioned in the list above. So close to 8 people in every 10 diagnosed.
  • Among, people living with dementia hypertension was the most common comorbidity (44%). The prevalence of diabetes, stroke or TIA, CHD or depression ranged between 17-20%, while that of Parkinsonism, COPD or asthma ranged between 9-11%.
  • The prevalence rates for eight of the 10 comorbidities were higher in people living with dementia than you would expect in other people. Only the prevalence of hypertension and asthma was higher in other people.
  • The likelihood of multiple comorbidities was higher in patients with dementia.
  • 22% of people living with dementia had ≥3 comorbidities and 8% had ≥4 comorbidities, compared with just 11% exhibiting 3 or more comorbidities and only 3% exhibiting 4 or more in the wider GP population.
  • At the age of 85 people living with dementia were highly likely to have ≥2 comorbidities compared with other 85 year olds.

The data also shows that different types of dementia lead to different patterns of comorbidities being diagnosed.

Not surprisingly vascular dementia is associated with the cardiovascular conditions, but surprisingly it is also more associated with respiratory conditions than the other forms of dementia.

To see the report CLICK HERE

If you want to know more about this interesting topic then maybe you could read my chapter in the Textbook of Dementia Care.

I know it’s shameless self-publicity!

Improving Well-being Exercise Again!

So twice within a month I am going to post about the same thing and yes you’ve guessed it its exercise. The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) have released their latest themed review looking at physical activity today.

Their report brings together recent evidence on ways to influence physical activity behaviours in individuals and populations. It focuses on studies funded by NIHR so it is not a comprehensive review. However this is a UK organisation and its research conducted in the UK aims to raise awareness of their collective findings and relate to them to a broader body of research relevant to this country. The breadth of their work is also quite impressive when you consider that the report covers Early Years, Children of Primary School Years, Adults, Older Adults, Workplace Changes, and Changes to the Built and Natural Environments.

What is says about older adults is quite revealing. The review states that

“We don’t know enough from the research about the kind and intensity of intervention which works best, but qualitative evidence suggest the importance of social aspects of exercise, and reassurance around safety and health beliefs. More effort needs to be directed at certain groups most likely to benefit and least likely to take part in initiatives, including those with lower starting fitness and health problems or with weaker social networks.”

Time for health professionals to take heed and focus on these groups then.

To read the report online or download a copy go to: http://bit.ly/2Nm8LGD

I promise that next week I’ll look at something else!

Bad News and Goods News on Dementia

This week if you can see past the Brexit clamour two very important pieces of news about Dementia appeared. Firstly, the bad news. The fears of many people who have been trying to bring this to public attention, like the Sports Legacy Institute in the US and the Jeff Astle Foundation in the UK, that there may be a link between concussion injury in football/soccer and mortality due to dementia and other neurological illness, seems to have been realised. A team based at Glasgow University published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the link found that former professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than those in the general population.

It’s not possible currently to examine the paper in full easily at the moment but one of my favourite sources for this blog  Behind the Headlines an NHS critical guide to the science that makes the news, have published their review of the paper which you can read at

https://www.nhs.uk/news/neurology/dementia-fears-for-former-footballers/

If you want to look at the abstract of the published paper you can find it at

Mackay DF, Russell ER, Stewart K, et al. (2019) Neurodegenerative Disease Mortality among Former Professional Soccer Players New England Journal of Medicine. Published online 21/10/19

So, secondly what’s the good news then? Biogen an American drug company and Eisai a Japanese company they are working with said on Wednesday that they will seek US FDA approval for a medicine to treat early Alzheimer’s disease, a landmark step toward finding a treatment that can alter the course of the most common form of dementia. The announcement caught everyone by surprise because Biogen stopped two studies of their new drug earlier this year, when partial results suggested it was not likely to be successful. It now says a new analysis of more results suggests that the drug helped to reduce a decline of thinking skills at the highest dose.

The drug, called aducanumab, aims to help the body clear harmful plaques from the brain. If they are right, this is the biggest step forward in 20 or more years as finally there may be a drug that tackles the cause of the disease. Current drugs only temporarily ease symptoms of Alzheimer’s and do not slow the loss of memory and thinking skills.

For more about the announcement see

https://metro.co.uk/2019/10/23/drug-can-slow-alzheimers-disease-soon-available-millions-10966879/

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!