A Busy Week

No reports of any great consequence some weeks and then like the buses they all seem to come at once. So here goes…..

This week saw the release of the WHO European Health Report 2015. This report is the WHO European Region’s flagship publication. It is published every three years and you will find that it gets quoted a lot. The 2012 report set the baseline for monitoring progress towards the six targets of the European policy framework, Health 2020. This one begins to map the progress towards these arguing that to measure well-being particularly new sources of qualitative evidence are needed as facts and figures are not enough to report meaningfully on what it means to be healthy and well in Europe. It also argues for stronger international collaboration to advance the agenda for health-information research and development across the Region.

For more information watch the video and to download the report go to:


Also published by Age UK this week, the Age UK almanac of disease profiles in later life, which is a reference on the frequency of major diseases, conditions and syndromes affecting older people in England. It’s the third in a series of research pieces they have been involved in. To download this report and for details of the other work they have done see:


Also the Health Quality Improvement Partnership, released the first ever national inpatient falls audit for England and Wales. (Which are mapped against the NICE guideline; CG161). It is a little disappointing to read. Again you can find out more about and download the report by accessing:


Last one is the latest State Of Care Report for 2015 which was released this week This is an annually released document which looks at all Inspection reports across England and Wales and comments on the organisations views of their work year on year. This years report is available at:


For edited highlights though, you might want to view this video:

Care Homes: Should we be worried?

This month the UK’s 5 biggest care home providers (BUPA, Four Seasons Health Care, HC-One, Care UK and Barchester) have raised concern about the impact of raising the National Minimum Wage on the sector.

Now I’d be first up to say that no-one should be working in healthcare for less than the £7.20/hour that is being introduced in April 2016, but is the sector ready? Looking across the UK the average cost of a care home place (in England) was £615/week. The money paid on average by most local authorities was just £511/week (a £104 shortfall). There are no plans to increase the amount local authorities are prepared to pay for services, so if the wage bills, which accounts for 60% of most care homes costs do rise; where is the money going to come from? Are we in danger of putting care home care beyond the reach of many older people, as care home companies consider reducing the number of care home places they are prepared to give to Local Authorities?  Or worse, consider closing because on the current fees they no longer have a sustainable business?

It is time working condition improved in our care homes in order to improve staff pride, attract better staff, improve retention etc…; but I don’t think its going to happen unless the underfunding of providers is addressed very soon.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/20/english-care-homes-facing-financial-ruin-say-councils  if you want to read more about this.

Are things any different in Scotland? You can always visit:

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http://www.scottishcare.org/  to find out.

2nd of October: A day late perhaps?

Yesterday, the 1st of October was UN International Day for the Older Person. So to mark the day I thought I’d start this week’s post by referring you to three pages that the UN created for the day. One is at:  http://www.un.org/en/events/olderpersonsday/background.shtml

another is at:  http://undesadspd.org/Ageing/InternationalDayofOlderPersons.aspx

finally : http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=52088#.Vg4tSvlViko

Yesterday was about encouraging countries to improve older persons’ accessibility to urban infrastructure, facilities and services as two phenomena – rapid urbanization and ageing populations – are combining to dramatically change the face the world’s cities. Had a discussion in one of my classes yesterday about the impact of investing in environmental improvement and we all agreed that making houses, buildings, transport etc. fit for purpose for older people benefited everyone for generations to come. So spending more now will save everyone in the long run.

Another release yesterday to coincide with Older People’s Day was a little video by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) about the “get up and go” test. This link to the video http://www.csp.org.uk/news/2015/10/01/physios-launch-test-older-peoples-day-assess-peoples-risk-falling not only links you to the video it also links you to the other resources the CSP has created around falls risk detection which you might want to have a look at. You will also find a link to “Agile” the network for chartered physiotherapists working with older people in here, so worth a little explore.

On a lighter note. Do you need a new profile picture, perhaps for Moodle or Facebook? You might like this. It’s called “Get Peanutised” go to  http://www.peanutsmovie.com/charactercreator/

This is the new me!


Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2015

Huge congratulations are due to one of our MSc. in Later Studies Students.  Take a bow Gabriela Mitas !!!! Gabriela, who is in her second year, works for Alzheimers’ Scotland as a Community Activity Organiser and as part of her role she helps to organise Lanarkshire’s Mosque and Muslim Community Project. This project helps to challenge and reduce the stigma around dementia within that community and acts to prevent the marginalisation that Muslims, particularly women Muslim carers, can feel when dealing with their relatives who are living with dementia in our society. Fantastic work and I know that myself and my colleagues are keen to find out more. Here is Gabriela shortly after receiving her award for “Best Dementia Friendly Community Initiative” yesterday.


The ‘Dementia Champions’ teaching team at UWS were also put forward for the Best Acute Care Initiative. We (because it includes me) were runners up. Disappointed not to win of course, but as a team we were glad to get some recognition for all the work that we have put in to the programme since it began in 2011.

As part of wining a short film about Gabriela’s work will be made available on the Awards website. Once that is made visible I’ll put the link up here so you can all see the great work she has been doing.

World Alzheimer’s Day was on the 21st of September and to mark the event why not become a Dementia Friend and help tackle the stigma associated with dementia in a small but positive way. Go to http://www.dementiafriendsscotland.org/?gclid=CLLDg-7VkcgCFSIOwwodA0wNVA  There you can register your interest.

Nearly two thirds of people with dementia experience loneliness and almost half report losing friends after their diagnosis. A global survey of 2,500 people with dementia and carers across 50 countries found that stigma is a major barrier to improving care and support for people with the condition.

So We Begin…

Welcome to all our new Older Peoples’ Health and Well-being students here at UWS who will all commence in their new modules this week. If this is your first visit to the Blog then please read the first entry, which explains why it is here.

So this week, what’s in the news. UK Older People’s Day is on 1st October every year to coincide with the UN International Day of Older Persons; so it is coming up very soon. The main aim for the day is for this date to be a celebration of the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society and the economy. Older People’s Day supports the campaign to challenge negative attitudes and outdated stereotypes, See: http://olderpeoplesday.co.uk/ and if you can, join their Facebook page and get along to an event (or even host your own).

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The UN page is at http://www.un.org/en/events/olderpersonsday/

The theme for this year is Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment.

Coinciding with this date the  4th. Luminate Festival begins across Scotland and continues until the 31st. of October.  Luminate is Scotland’s creative ageing festival bringing older people and people from across the generations together across Scotland to celebrate our creativity as we age, share stories of ageing and explore what growing older means to all of us. There are a number of events across Scotland details of which you can find at  http://www.luminatescotland.org/events There are a number of Luminate Photography Competition: Pop-up Exhibition staking place across Glasgow and Lanarkshire that would be interesting to get to.

Finally wish the team luck. Next Thursday, the 24 September, we are going along to Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2015 hoping to get our success recognised. See: http://www.alzscot.org/news_and_community/news/3413_finalists_announced_for_scotlands_dementia_awards_2015

Welcome to my new improved blog space

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Those of you who have studied Older People’s Issues before will know that I usually run a Blog throughout the course of my modules in order to share and comment on current issues in older people’s care that the module materials may not capture. The Blog also allows you, as students to participate in co-producing your own learning, because you can comment and contribute to this blog at any time. In fact it would be really good if you would do this, so that we can share all of our views. Previously I was using a format that was only able to be viewed within the University of the West of Scotland. It is worth noting that this time I am using a Blogging tool called WordPress that is open access and this is posted across 4 different modules, so there are lots of potential contributors.

So where will I start. In the headlines this week you might have seen:

“Can you Catch Alzheimers’ Disease? Could it be spread via blood transfusions during surgery in the same way as CJD!” (from the Daily Mail 09/09/2015)

 So is there any truth in this?
When I see headlines like this, I tend to have a look at a really brilliant NHS Choices site called ‘Behind the Headlines’. What this group of people do is look for the piece of research that the headline story relates to and critique it. So they did this for this study. If you want to see or find out where the original research was published and what they said about it than go to http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/09September/Pages/No-evidence-that-Alzheimers-can-be-transmitted-through-surgery.aspx
Its worth remembering that this site is here because they do a really good job of explaining complex research in a way that will help you understand what that research really does show. It also helps you develop better evaluation skills if you look regularly.