We Like NIHR Signals!

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.

 

Recognising the Work of Scotland’s National Dementia Champions

Nicola Wood

Congratulations to Nicola Wood who works at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert Scotland who this year was Highly Commended in The Nursing Older People category of the RCNi  Nurse Awards 2017. Nicola’s work on reducing hospital interhospital movement for people with dementia featured in the July edition of Nursing Older People. You can see an item about the article at the Nursing Older People Journal site at the moment. As you might know, the School of Nursing here at the University of the West of Scotland are responsible for delivering the National Dementia Champions programme and Nicola is one of the 700 plus champions already out in the field. See National Dementia Champions

If you want to find out more about more what else the National Dementia Champions are involved in go to Twitter and look for #oneweething

Finding Happiness and ‘At the Fringe’

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Something a bit different this week. Last month an interesting article appeared that was about happiness. Now, the pursuit of happiness is often viewed as a human right along with life and liberty (so says America’s Declaration of Independence); so much so that there is even an International Happiness Index, a UN International Day of Happiness on the 20th. of March and a World Happiness Report, which suggests that to be happy you need to live in Norway, Denmark, Iceland or Switzerland.

OK, so what’s this got to do with older people, I hear you ask, who invariably are amongst the happiest people alive!

That was a surprise I bet. See the work of Laura Carstesen if you don’t believe me!

Well this reserach report looks at how best you can spend your wealth if you want to improve your well-being. So can spending money effectively make you feel better? Well, possibly, but you have to be careful what you sepnd that money on and the results are quite surprising.

No spoilers… if you want to find out what the research says and how you could spend money more wisely then click the link to

 

August is only a few days away now and in Scotland that signals the start of the World’s Biggest Art’s Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe. If you are planning to spend some time in Edinburgh between the 4th. to the 28th. of August when the Fringe is on, you should check out Alzheimers Scotland’s guide to exploring Dementia at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Go and learn something new or get more insight by visiting their page at:

Fabulous Fringe Festival

 

Ten Things We Need to Know About Dementia

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This week the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Intervention and Care published its findings which included 10 key messages that are the things we need to know!

Quite a lot of the media reports of this important paper have highlighted only the lifestyle changes that need to be made to reduce your risk of developing dementia but very few highlight the bottom line… which is even if you make the positive  lifestyle changes suggested that would reduce your potentially modifiable risk factors by  about 35% of your overall risk. The other 65% of dementia risk is thought to be potentially non-modifiable.

The paper though, says a lot more than this and “Being ambitious about prevention” the one the media focussed on is only No 2 on the list, so there are 9 more messages that got a lot less attention! To see the Lancet Paper click here Be warned it’s not short!

So what else caught my attention? Well this did the Commonwealth Fund, which surprisingly is a private American foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency in US Healthcare recently reported on a comparison they had made between 10 high-income countries health care systems performance: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Worryingly the USA came last in nearly everything. Surprisingly the top country was the UK! Who says our Health Care system is failing? I think it’s actually being failed by a Government that wants to adopt an American Healthcare Model.

The time has come to ask why when they, the USA, should be learning from us!

As the Commonwealth Fund report states, based on a broad range of indicators, the U.S. health system is an outlier, spending far more but falling short of the performance achieved by other high-income countries. The results suggest the U.S. health care system should look at other countries’ approaches if it wants to achieve an affordable high-performing health care system that serves all Americans.

To read more about this report and to access the full version click here

Care Homes and Bad Press

 

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No More Bad News

 

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.

So just to be clear here is the link to the CQC’s own press release that the news stories have been based on which contains the link to the full report which is called “The state of adult social care services 2014 to 2017”

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.

Our New Masters Pathway!

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Since last year the NES/SSSC National Dementia Champions teaching team, which I am part of has been working towards setting up a Masters Programme that will extend the work they do to create an Expert Level of Dementia Practice course. To put this into context click here to see the Promoting Excellence Knowledge and Skills Framework site

Details of the new MSc in Gerontology (with Dementia Care) can be found at

http://www.mastersportal.eu/studies/156034/gerontology-and-later-life-studies.html

or contact me directly at raymond.duffy@uws.ac.uk

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.

Being Home and Inspiration From Away

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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