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.
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
I am not expecting this to surprise many of you by saying that the leading cause of trauma to older people is falls from a standing height, most of which happen at home. However what will surprise you is that a ten-year study by the Trauma Audit and Research Network revealed that this is the leading cause of major trauma across the country ahead of road traffic accidents, work-based accidents and assaults.
So what’s that got to do with unintentional ageism? Janet Morrison, who has written this week’s blog post for campaigning and support group Independent Age explains very nicely how Trauma Centre’s (A&E’s) are set up to deal with younger people with high impact injuries but that is no longer the bulk of their work. The report itself is very revealing particularly in relation to what happens next after an older person’s trauma is recognised. To read or listen to Janet’s blog click here
If you are dealing with falls, particularly falls at home, regularly you may find this page useful
The team from the Alzheimers Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice who I work with, are holding a Drop-in Event at the Mezzanine Area of the Brough Building, UWS Paisley Campus, in Scotland at 1-3pm on the 31st May, 2017.
If you can’t come along on the day please join us on twitter @ASCPP #oneweething where we are celebrating all the lovely things and small changes that our Dementia Champions and others do to improve the lives of people with dementia, their family, and friends. To find out more go to:
OK, that’s and event still to come but what about this week?
Yesterday Age Scotland launched a report and survey that outlines the positive impact that the growing men’s shed movement is having on later life. Men from sheds across Scotland have told their story in the report called The Shed Effect, which you can access using the link. The report demonstrates how men’s health and wellbeing has been lifted by getting involved in their local shed. The men’s shed movement or community sheds are not for profit organisations that originated in Australia, to advise and improve the overall health of all males. They normally operate on a local level in the community, promoting socila interaction and camaraderie with the aim of increasing quality of life. There are over 900 located across Australiaand growing numbers in the UK, Ireland, Finland Greece and New Zealand. with thousands of active members to find a local shed if you live in Scotland Click here.
As part of 2016’s Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing festival, and with support from Scottish Care, Documentary Filmmaker and Photographer Duncan Cowles worked at North Merchiston Care Home in Edinburgh to create a collection of short films directed by the care home residents. The result is a series of five short films. I think each one of the residents has really enjoyed the process. Some were slightly reluctant initially, but once we got started admitted that they were having a laugh, and were glad they’d agreed to take part.
Duncan Cowles said of the project
“I think each one of the residents has really enjoyed the process. Some were slightly reluctant initially, but once we got started admitted that they were having a laugh, and were glad they’d agreed to take part. The hope is that the films will take on a life of their own, as we share them with a wider audience. It’s really important that older people’s voices are heard by other generations, and often that doesn’t happen.”
On a totally different scale, a report by Help the Aged International called “Investing in an ageing world: shifting debates from costs to investments” has recently been added to their publications list. The report argues that we should stop bemoaning the so-called “costs” of ageing and shift from a debate defined by financing and expenditure to one that focuses on social investment and long-term planning. An approach that is both more positive and ultimately more sustainable approach. It’s a long report but you can download it here and take a look at the conclusions and recommendations on p.100-105 which discuss what we should be doing instead of just imposing austerity measures. As the report says, the younger workers of today and the near future will be the beneficiaries of the successes of our current planning but only if we act appropriately now!
This week we are going to have look at a new initiative being promoted by NHS England, which has come from Dr. Amit Arora, a consultant geriatrician at the University Hospital of North Midlands, who has served as Chairman of England Council of the British Geriatrics Society. He and his team have developed the campaign “Sit up, Get Dressed, Keep Moving” which is being adopted in many NHS hospitals and abroad. It’s worth clicking on the link at the bottom of Dr. Arora’s blog for NHS England are some great resources including information leaflets that you can use.
We should all really be supporting this campaign since older people, the core users of NHS stand to benefit most from this campaign. During hospitalization older people can spend up to 83% of their time sitting in bed and often a further 12% in a chair. Patients, therefore, become deconditioned with deconditioning starting within the first 24 hours.
There is a bit of controversy about the campaign already but the BGS allowed Dr. Arora to respond on their blog and that also makes a very interesting read, See Why is everyone talking about it?
Earlier this month a new resource called “Staying Sharp” was launched by Age UK. Staying Sharp is a new online hub on brain ageing, which has been developed in collaboration with the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) at the University of Edinburgh.
It has been developed because for many older people, losing their mental sharpness is one of their biggest fears. However, although it is generally accepted that some of our thinking skills, for example, our memory and speed of processing information will change, approximately three-quarters of the changes in our thinking skills across our lives are really down to lifestyle and environmental factors. Many of these factors may be things we can try and control or change which is why the hub has been created.
Staying Sharp is a superb resource for the many people out there who are concerned about losing their thinking skills as they grow older. So please recommend it!
Also found out this week that there is going to be a requirement for GPs to routinely identify frailty in patients as part of the new GP Contract being rolled out in NHS England in 2017-18. Which really begs the question how are they going to identify who is frail.? Well a wee bit of digging and I have come across the following paper:
When tested out this index identified 35 per cent of the population aged 65 and over who have ‘mild’ frailty. Using this tool the intention is to pick up this group using this frailty identification tool in its early stages in order to provide opportunities for the prevention of poor quality ageing. Now just what exactly will that involve?
Oh… hang on… what was that “Staying Sharp” resource about?
Worrying times for UK nursing particularly in England and Wales where the nursing bursary has been scrapped. Figures from UCAS show a worrying drop in applicant numbers at a time when there is a huge shortage of nurses UK wide. Less than a year and clearly it’s already time for a re-think. See Mature students decide against nursing .
I am not sure how many of you will have read about this but I think it is well worth reading about, particularly if you work in an area where no resuscitation team is accessible, care homes particularly.
In January the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC’s) Conduct and Competence Committee (January 2017) ; found against a nurse who did not attempt CPR on, or call the emergency services to, a nursing home resident she believed had already died.
This ruling had caused concern and considerable debate among nurses and other health care professionals who feared the risk of criticism or disciplinary action should they be faced with a similar situation.
Bearing this in mind it is worth reading both of these statements. One from the Resuscitation Council (UK) itself and the other from the RCN.
Finally, something else that may have passed you by this week. WHO announced that Depression is now the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. WHO will start a year-long campaign targeting depression called “Depression: let’s talk” which will commence on World Health Day which is today of course! (7th. of April 2017).
Its going to be a bit overshadowed by the launching of Fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles sadly.