Dying Comfortably

Last month saw the publication of one of those papers that helps confirm something that you always believed you knew. So what did it confirm?

Very old people are more likely to die comfortably if they die in care homes or at home when compared to hospitals. The study carried out by a nursing team at the University of Cambridge found that the oldest old do not always receive effective symptomatic treatment at the end of life. While that is true in most settings up to four times more are likely to die comfortably in a community setting when compared to hospital. So what’s the message? Training for end of life care needs to be improved for all staff, at all levels but perhaps more telling is the need for governments (not just in the UK) to review the funding of long-term care so that more people have the opportunity to die in their home/ care homes than currently so that late admission to hospital is less likely. Not a new message but maybe its time to sit up and take notice. To download the paper go HERE

Sticking with the same topic an End of Life Care resource called “Let’s Talk About Death and Dying” has been produced by Age UK and the Malnutrition Task Force. The materials were produced in a response to a survey showing yet again that conversations about death remain a taboo topic. The new video is below:

 

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Finding Happiness and ‘At the Fringe’

Happiness

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

Looking back at #DAW2017 and Looking Forward; Anticipatory Care Planning

ACP toolkit

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!

 

Men’s Sheds and Dementia Awareness Week Scotland

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:

https://healthnursingmidwiferyuws.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/dementia-awareness-week-oneweething/

shed-1086472__340

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.

And of course happy International Nurses Day! 

Local (Luminate 2017) and International!

 

luminate
Luminate 2017 October 1st – 31st 2017

 

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.”

To view the films go to May: This is your Life which is first in the series.  For information about Luminate 2017 click this link.

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!

Deconditioning Syndrome

GETUP_GETDRESSED

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?

There is also a little bit of a Twitter storm if you want to know more. See  #endpjparalysis and 

Comments welcome, particularly if you are a Physiotherapist or an Occupational Therapist. Arguably this is what you are trying to do every day! Maybe its time you got some real support.