Looking After Your Musculoskeletal Health

This week in Public Health England’s Health Matters Blog they have chosen to focus on older people’s Musculoskeletal (MSK) Health. A good time of year to focus on this as today the outside temperature across most of Scotland today fell to -2 degrees Celsius. So its a high risk of falls day (and a put on your big coat day as we’d say here)

The Public Health Blog focusses on the burden of the three groups of MSK conditions:

  • Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Conditions of musculoskeletal pain such as osteoarthritis and back pain
  • Osteoporosis and fragility fractures such as fracture after fall

As well as age, the prevalence of MSK conditions is being fuelled by rising levels of physical inactivity and obesity, and poor health habits such as smoking. MSK conditions are a substantial problem for individuals and the NHS. The blog looks at how local authorities, commissioners, healthcare professionals, and the private and voluntary sectors can all contribute towards promoting productive healthy ageing and preventing the onset of MSK conditions. It includes a set of infographics and slides to support local commissioning and service delivery, as well as best practice case studies, so why not have a look and make use of them.  See

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/06/health-matters-productive-healthy-ageing-and-musculoskeletal-health/

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Contact Sport and Dogs. Why are they in the Headlines?

I’ve still to watch it but it was interesting to see the topic of head injuries in sport being raised this week in the BBC documentary “Alan Shearer: Dementia Football and Me”. Concerns about head knocks in American Football and Rugby have been a subject of quite a lot of research and concerns in the last few years but Soccer/football has been remarkably quiet about exposure to head injury from heading the ball and other head knocks apparently choosing to ignore the topic despite concerns being raised for at least the last 15 years. I was going to direct you to the documentary page but the BBC has a better resource written by their health editor Hugh Pym that includes links to the documentary on a page labelled £1m for football brain injury research Well worth reading because it also contains a link to a study about American Football conducted in Boston that is perhaps more concerning.

Is it time for change, or is their just so much money in these sports that we are happy to risk the futures of our children?

So for every negative their needs to be a positive so here it is!

Swedish Scientist have just published a huge study that suggests that dogs may be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk in their owners by providing social support and motivation for physical activity. The benefits are particularly noticeable for people living alone. I don’t really need to encourage a lot of my friends here, but when we talk about Pet Therapy that’s quite an artificial and temporary construct. Maybe we should just be saying “Go out and get yourself a dog!”

What’s Been Happening at NICE?

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This is probably the longest gap in posts since I started this weekly Blog so for regular followers my apologies for missing last week completely. I was unwell last week and didn’t feel well enough to post, which was followed by a very busy week when I just ended up each night too tired to write.

Hopefully, normal service is now resumed and I might even try and do an extra post this week.  So the question now that I am back, has to be why am I drawing your attention to the National Institute of Healthcare Excellence (NICE).

Well as many of my students know I have not been a big fan of what they put on their website until quite recently. I never thought that it was enough to just release Guidance and not really do much to show or explain how it should be used. However, that’s all changing. I am a big fan of their Pathways, very handy if you are trying to work out what ideal care in the UK should look like for particular illnesses and conditions. I am also probably an even bigger fan of their Clinical Knowlege Summaries which are really useful when you are considering what to do in practice. They are almost like checklists for what you should be doing in particular circumstances and incorporate all the appropriate NICE guidance.

Now they are doing it again. They have started producing a series of Quick Guides, developed jointly with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) which are based on NICE guidelines and health and social care quality standards (Unfortunately the English ones and not the Scottish ones). There aren’t many yet but it’s really worth keeping an eye on these as the collection grows particularly if you are involved in integrated care, social care or providing care home care.

The most recent one is for intermediate care services, which help people to recover from illness or an accident, to regain independence and to remain in their own homes. This new guide gives people who use the services and their families and carers an overview of:

  • The types of service available
  • The four stages of intermediate care
  • The professionals involved in providing care

A new place to look for well-written evidence-based and useful materials.

 

 

The Day After…

It’s the day after #WorldAlzheimersDay2017 so I will make no apologies for what follows and warn you now it’s all about Dementia. So in case you missed it, yesterday Alzheimers Disease International posted a new media release that includes a video about the call for every country to have a Dementia Strategy in place. To see the new video click here

Usually, they also release the newest World Alzheimers Report but it’s not there yet, but they do tell you what it’s about. Instead, what they have done is release the Second edition of their report on Dementia Friendly communities which you can get more information about here

Yesterday also saw the release of new materials on the global plan on dementia, produced by WHO in partnership with ADI. See WHO Dementia

Here in Scotland two things of note and both are mobile phone Apps. Firstly Purple Alert which is a free app designed by people living with dementia and carers, Alzheimer Scotland staff, Police Scotland, Social Work, Dementia Friends Scotland, Health and Social Care Partnerships and telecare services. Which is designed to help find people living with dementia if they are lost.

The second App is from the Dementia Services Development Centre in Stirling and is called Iridis. Iridis is a cutting-edge app created to promote a better quality of life for people with dementia. It is a digital version of the DSDC’s research-based Dementia Design Audit Tool – meaning expert guidance on dementia design is now available at the touch of a button. To find out more and watch a video about its development click here

Finally congratulations to Henry Rankin , the Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at yesterday’s Scottish Dementia Awards. Can’t think of anyone more deserving. If you watch the video you might understand why.

Housing our Older People Correctly Needs Addressing Now!

Back in July I posted about a report done by my colleagues here at UWS’s @AlzScotCPP ‏ on the need for improvements in housing required in Scotland to support people who have dementia now and into the future. See my post here  Well this month saw the publication of a larger report by the Local Government Association for England which has stated that with one in five of the overall population in England set to be over 65 in a decade, a “residential revolution” needs to occur to provide more homes that support our ageing population. They have suggested that we need to increase the number of specialist homes for older people by 400,000 units in less than 20 years to catch up with places like the USA and Australia where a more developed market exists for retirement housing. Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Housing spokesman pointed out that councils cannot tackle this issue alone. Support from government, which incentivises housebuilding and provides councils with the funding and resources they need, is crucial to every local authority’s efforts to support positive ageing. You can read more about this issue and download the full report at

https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/residential-revolution-needed-englands-ageing-population-says-lga

You can also watch a short video about the report here:

Becoming a Delirium Champion

Well done RCN Older People’s Forum and My Dementia Improvement Network for getting behind a campaign to raise awareness of identifying delirium not just in hospital but also within the community. Older people with multiple long term conditions are particularly vulnerable to delirium but are also the most likely not to have it spotted until the possibility of a poor outcome is more likely. To find out more about becoming a delirium champion and get a resource pack to help raise awareness of the need to identify delirium early visit this RCN page.  

I just wished they hadn’t used the label “champion”. Particularly as someone involved in training Scotland’s National Dementia Champions; who are already encouraged to raise awareness of this issue.

Still, it’s a very appropriate issue to highlight during Dementia Awareness Month

Amongst all the worldwide weather chaos that we are currently experiencing I think I should also highlight the biggest one and the one that has the most impact on older people and that is the East Asia Floods. Although its probably the least reported it already has the most deaths reportedly caused by it and has affected by far the most people. The burden in such chaos often falls on older people. To learn more and maybe to contribute to the relief fund please visit Age International South Asia Floods

Dementia Awareness Month Begins

It’s the 1st of September, so as always this is the commencement of World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

 

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World Alzheimer’s Month has been observed in September every year since its launch in September 2012. The decision to introduce a full month, to contain the existing World Alzheimer’s Day, which is on the 21st. of September every year was made to enable national and local Alzheimer associations worldwide to extend the reach of their awareness programmes over a longer period. The 21st of September was chosen because it marked the opening of Alzheimer’s Disease International’s (ADI’s) annual conference in Edinburgh on 21 September 1994 which was the organisations 10th anniversary.

 

For more information about this years theme and campaign click here.

It also means that the next World Alzheimers Report will be released. This year the aim is to highlight the importance of early detection and diagnosis of dementia. So look out for it’s publication around the time of World Alzheimer’s Day.