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

Who Said That an Ageing Population is a Bad Thing?

I’ve missed another week, but here I am back again. This week I am bringing a new report by The International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) called “Maximising the Longevity Dividend”.  While older people and an ageing population are often painted as a risk to our economy, this new research shows that the UK’s ageing population brings economic opportunities through older people’s growing spending, working and earning power.

Their research has found that households headed by someone aged 50+ have dominated total expenditure (excluding housing costs) since 2013. And spending by older consumers will continue to rise significantly over the coming decades, from 54% (£319 billion) of total consumer spending in 2018 to 63% by 2040 (£550 billion).

Those 50+ also shift their spending towards non-essential purchases such as leisure, transport, household goods and services.

People aged 50+ are also making an increasingly significant contribution to the economy by continuing to work.. The share of the workforce aged 50 and over rose from 26% in 2004 to 32% in 2018, and it could account for 37% by 2040. People aged 50 and over earned 30% of total earnings (£237 bn) in 2018 and this is expected to rise to 40% by 2040 (£311 bn). The ILC have said that supporting people aged 50 and over to remain in the workforce could add an additional 1.3% to the UK GDP a year by 2040.

To read and download the report CLICK HERE.

AS David Sinclair, Director of the ILC, says

As the population ages there are enormous economic opportunities, but these are currently being neglected. We’ve become accustomed to hearing our ageing population talked about as a bad thing – but the reality is it could be an opportunity. However, we won’t realise this ‘longevity dividend’ through blind optimism about ageing. Instead, we need concerted action to tackle the barriers to spending and working in later life.”

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.

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!

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!

Are You Ready for 64? What about 86 and Maybe More?

I quite liked this as an introduction to this weeks topic. Today’s fifty-year-olds are likely to have an astounding 36 or more years to live. So if you’re approaching later life, you need to think very differently about what those extra years will hold.

So two things that you will have to consider in this weeks. A plan for your future at work and help in achieving the goal of a fabulous later life. Interesting you can find guides to both on the Centre for Ageing Better’s website this week.

Firstly they have published a new report on Employers, suggesting that they should do more for workers in their 40s and 50s to help them plan for the future.To read more about their findings and to download the full report follow THIS LINK 

The Centre for Ageing Better says

…providing mid-life support is an essential part of how employers can respond to the changing nature of the workforce. Workers over the age of 50 now make up a third of all UK workers, but there are more older people leaving work than younger people coming in to replace them. Supporting staff to plan ahead could help employers avoid potential staff and skill shortages, as well as ‘cliff edge retirements’ where people are working one day and stop work entirely the next.

The second item is a new book that the Centre helped to produce called When We’re 64 by Louise Ansari

The book is a friendly, practical guide to preparing for what could be the best years of your life – from the essentials on work and how to fund retirement, to volunteering, where to live and what kind of housing you’ll need The book aims to provide knowledge, tips and pointers to help you think very differently about opportunities that a long life can bring. You can find out more about the book and how to purchase it by CLICKING HERE.