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.
This week Susan Shenkin one of the editors for the British Geriatrics Society’s (BGS) Age and Ageing Journal has written the BGS’s Blog page. What she is writing about is her recent article in the journal that aims to provide guidance for people conducting systematic reviews relevant to the healthcare of older people.
If you are a student of mine doing your Masters please take note. This is great guidance for you to follow particularly as you head towards your dissertation. While the guidance is really there for review teams, it embraces a number of principles and contains some good tips that you could easily follow To see Susan’s Blog post go here.
To download the article (which is Open Access) Click the link below
Systematic reviews: guidance relevant for studies of older people
This week also saw the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT’s) publish their new report which is calling on the NHS and Local Authorities to refocus health and social care services. They warn that unless there is a shift from a ‘high volume, low cost’ approach to care, to one which sees the whole person’s overall wellbeing services will struggle to meet future demands.
In its report, the RCOT’s seeks to show how doing the right thing for individuals can
actually, reduce their need for expensive care long-term. It calls for an end to the postcode lottery in access to occupational therapy which is a barrier to people in need receiving high quality, person-centred care that enables people to stay as active, independent and safe as possible. For more details about their new report and to download the document go to Living, not Existing: Putting prevention at the heart of care for older people
The video accompanying the report is here:
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
or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 . Very timely for the team here at UWS, as advanced dementia is a key theme throughout our new programme.
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
As my followers will know it was Dementia Awareness Week in Scotland last week so for those of you who got involved here are some things you might like:
- #DAW2017 went viral with a video of PC Marshall visiting a Musical Minds group in Kilmarnock during DAW. The video on the ALZScot Ayrshire page was shared across Scottish media including The Scotsman, The Scottish Sun, The Sunday Post and many more!
- Check out the Dementia Awareness Week gallery over on Facebook and tag yourself.
- To support the week AlzScot also shared a blog a day from Allied Health Professionals who wanted to share who they are and how they CAN help if you are living with dementia. If you can review the blogs by visiting Let’s Talk about Dementia
Last week also saw the publication of ‘My Anticipatory Care Plan’ (ACP). An anticipatory care plan toolkit designed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
Antipatory Care Planning ahead can help many people with chronic health problems to plan what they would like their care to look like on a daily basis or help them to plan fro and manage situations which they may find threatening, like sudden hospital admission. ACP’s are not legally binding in any way (in the UK) and can be updated at any time to reflect changes in the person’s thinking. Remember this is designed to be their plan and it’s entirely up to the person to decide who to share this information with.
For more information about ACP’s and to access the toolkit please click here
You can also download their ACP App for both iPhone and Android when you visit the site. It really is a fabulous resource and although it may originate in Scotland, it could be used anywhere!
In January (I know that’s a while back and usually I am more up to date than this), the Royal College of Physicians in partnership with the National Audit of Inpatient Falls (NAIF) and others produced a new vision assessment tool which enables ward staff to quickly assess a patient’s eyesight in order to help prevent them falling or tripping while in hospital. Look out! Bedside vision check for falls prevention is an innovatively designed guide which aims to support busy clinical staff in assessing visual impairment in older people. It uses a mixture of questions and visual aids to help doctors, nurses and therapists check eyesight at the patient’s bedside. Results give an indication of the extent of any visual problems, known or unknown, that the patient may have. For more information click the link.
If we stick to the same topic the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) have created a resource page called Promoting good eye health for Dementia and Sight Loss Awareness Week 2017
There is a strong link between visual impairment and dementia as their 2016 PrOVIDe study showed. Most of the visual impairments they encountered though were easily correctable. So go and have a look at what they suggest.
Note the page was designed for England and Wales so if you are Scottish and want to become a Dementia Friend you need to click on this link
Have you ever seen this symbol?
Can’t say I have either, so I better explain. This is the symbol of BlueAssist. Created by a small centre for adults with learning difficulties in Ostend, Belgium. The scheme began as a series of written cards with a distinctive logo, and the words Dare to Connect. The symbol is there to help the public understand that the person asking for help may not be able to communicate easily, just as the wheelchair symbol is recognised for those with physical difficulties. The simple idea was that when the person presents a BlueAssist message which has been pre-prepared such as
“Please can you help me catch the number 5 bus”
Members of the public would understand from the symbol and the message on the card what is needed and could then provide assistance.
Not only can you get the cards you can now get a Blue Assist mobile phone app.
The whole point here is that ANYONE who has difficulty getting their message across, either because of physical problems, such as a stroke, hearing impairment, stammer or temporary problem such as a broken jaw. Or those who find it hard due to a long-term disability such as learning disability or any older person there are many people who want to remain independent but may find their memory and word finding ability makes asking for help difficult.
To find out more and maybe even to download the App, go to
Simple and effective, wouldn’t it be good to see it widely used. Thanks to @WendyPMitchell for bringing this to my attention in her blog.
Only a few weeks to go to the UK General Election. So a post from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation addressed to whoever wins called “After the election, the Government needs to get to grips with poverty” seems apt.