April @BloggersNurse Challenge: the Retention of Healthcare Staff

Last week I said I’d look at the topic of retention and said that would be interesting once this lockdown phase of the COVID-19 story passes. However, before we get to my thoughts on this you need to understand the context.

So rather than give a history lesson this article by Poly Toynbee in the Guardian on the 25th April does a much better job than I would ever do. See https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/24/year-nurse-tories-10-years-bad-care-nhs-crisis

As Poly says

…retention isn’t difficult, there is nothing insoluble about it. Pay them decently, give them as clear a career path ahead as doctors enjoy, and see what happens.

So getting beyond the politics of a pay rise, cancelling healthcare workers student debt, improving healthcare workers working conditions and terms of employment and providing a career path that includes recognition of health care workers in the care home and social care sectors… what does the professional literature suggest.

In a systematic literature review published last year Brook et al (2019) looked at the issue of retaining early career nurses. Early career nurses are important because it is in the transition from student to registered nurse that that the losses to the profession are at their highest.

So what did they say about retaining staff in the first year of practice. Firstly, employers have to offer a transition to practice programme. The form that the programme takes, be it preceptorship, mentoring programmes, residency programmes, internships, externships,orientation to practice programmes or clinical ladder programmes is not as important as having one in place. That is because of the message that it sends out; that the organisation by doing this is indicating the importance attached to their newly-qualified staff and this alone is enough to positively influence recruitment
and retention; especially if the organisation is perceived to be investing in the workforce to a greater extent than competitors.

Interventions with the highest benefit appear to be an internship/residency programme
or an orientation/transition to practice programme that incorporates formal teaching, a preceptorship element and possibly the addition of a mentorship element. They suggest that programmes need to last 27–52 weeks in duration. These findings align with
support that is already offered in USA, Canada and Australia. In the UK preceptorship and mentorship are embedded in our culture so we may be starting from a good position.

Unfortunately most of the studies done looking at this topic have been done in high income economies. The quality of their findings have also been affected by inconsistent and incomplete description of the interventions, missing detail of some components of the intervention and variations in methods of evaluation across the studies Brook et al (2019) reviewed indicating that many of the studies on this topic so far were not conducted using rigorous research methods of evaluation. The quality of this review, like many others has been  limited by the quality of the study reports that are available.

What is of interest is not the interventions but a need to refine and review already established transition programmes. If the programmes focussed more on the elements of teaching, preceptorship and mentorship and considered how these added to the new staff nurses experiences then more successful programmes might result. However, variation in the quality of mentors, preceptors and teaching are bound to affect the outcome of support programmes; so Brook et al (2019) suggest reviewing these before you start out.

The full review is available and published as follows

Brook, J., Aitken, L., Webb R., MacLaren, J., Salmon, D. (2019) Characteristics of successful interventions to reduce turnover and increase retention of early career nurses: A systematic review, International Journal of Nursing Studies, Volume 91, Pages 47-59,
ISSN 0020-7489.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2018.11.003

Unfortunately it does not appear to be open access.

So to the UK response to Coronavirus. Effectively all 4 nations in the UK have just sent all their students out into practice prior to completing their education at a time of crisis. It is not likely that the usual transition programmes that most hospitals and employer they are being sent to are running, or will be in place for them, or even considered, until this lockdown ends and something like ‘normal’ service is resumed.

What happens this month and over the next few months may well shape the outcome of hundreds of new students attitudes towards their profession. Are they going to transition well into their new roles with more limited support? Will the NHS and other employers consider offering better support to those who have commenced ‘early’ to help them out in the current situation? Will the Government follow through on the plans it says it has to better support and reward front-line health and social care staff? Will the COVID-19 situation encourage people to join health and social care professions or will it put them off?

I really don’t have the answers to the above questions. We will just have to wait and see… but I am worried already and angry at how depleted the nursing workforce has become and how badly the successive Conservative governments have treated Nursing and  other AHP professionals.

If nothing else, its time to change or my profession will become less attractive and the recruitment and retention problems existing at the moment will only worsen.

(You can follow me on Twitter @uwsraymondduffy)

 

#britgerontology Statement on COVID-19

Well, I said I thought I would post something about Coronovirus in my next Blog, so I’ll keep my promise.

This however does not come from me this is the statement released on the 20th. of March 2020 from the President and Members of the National Executive Committee of the British Society of Gerontology which I am a member of. This statement was made in relation to the unfolding political, policy and media rhetoric concerning age divisions that have emerged during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic which I have at times found quite concerning. My apologies about the length of the statement but it makes some excellent points that we should all consider during this worrying time.

The statement urges Government to reject the formulation and implementation of any policy based on the simple application of chronological age. The BSG call on government and media organisations to be cautious in their use of language so that we continue to foster generational and societal cohesion during the course of the pandemic. Only by bringing the generations together in this time of crisis can we ensure that the least damage is done to people living in the UK and other countries. The statement goes on as follows:

“We affirm the prime goal to control and limit as far as possible the spread of COVID-19. To achieve this goal requires a clear focus on evidence-based practice, using high quality research. We fully support action taken to limit physical interactions, maintain hygiene standards and restrict non-essential travel, and we understand that actions to contain and delay infection will require disruption to our everyday lives.
We urge the Government to ensure rapid COVID-19 testing for our front-line health and social care workforce and the wide range of individuals and organisations who are leading the response to the pandemic. We are also in favour of providing tests for the wider population. This allows people to respond appropriately to the pandemic, ensuring that the right people isolate themselves at the right time. Wider testing is also essential to provide access to robust data that can be used for research and modelling to assist us now in responding to and containing the virus, and in preparing better for future pandemics.
However, for the reasons set out below, we object to any policy which differentiates the population by application of an arbitrary chronological age in restricting people’s rights and freedoms. While people at all ages can be vulnerable to COVID-19, and all can spread the disease, not all people over the age of 70 are vulnerable, nor all those under 70 resilient. Older adults are actively involved in multiple roles, including in paid and unpaid work, civic and voluntary activity in local communities, and providing vital care for parents, partners, adult children and grandchildren. Quarantining the more than 8.5 million people over 70 years of age will deprive society of many people who are productive and active and who can be a key part of the solution by supporting the economy, families and communities. If blanket measures are taken to quarantine older people when others in the population are not quarantined, this places additional burdens on families, communities and businesses, and causes harm to those individuals.

  1. As a population group, it is wrong and overly simplistic to regard people who are aged 70 and above as being vulnerable, a burden, or presenting risks to other people. Many people in this age group are fit, well, and playing an active role in society. Older people participate in paid work, run businesses, volunteer, are active in civil society and the cultural life of communities, and take care of family members including parents, spouses/partners, adult children (especially those living with disabilities), and grandchildren. There are currently more than 360,000 people over 70 in paid work, including one in seven men between 70 and 75 and one in sixteen women. Almost one million people over the age of 70 provide unpaid care, including one in seven women in their 70s. One in five people aged between 70 and 85, over 1.5 million people, volunteer in their communities. People in good health are especially likely to volunteer at older ages with almost a third of those in their early 70s doing so. Older adults should not be excluded but should be seen as a vital and necessary part of economic and community life.
  2. Serious health risks particularly identified for coronavirus are prevalent across the population. Not only do high risks exist across age groups, but also many people in older age groups have no underlying health conditions. Almost half of people in their early 60s have one of a range of health conditions (hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, asthma or cancer). Almost one in five people in their 60s have two or more of these conditions. More than 30% of people in their 70s have none.
  3. It may be correct that age itself on average is presenting a risk for coronavirus even without other health conditions. However, this will not be the case for all individuals, amongst whom biological age and immune responses vary greatly. More importantly, this will on average be a gradually increasing risk with any specific age being an arbitrary point on this line. Choosing an arbitrary age, such as 70, presents the age risk as binary. This poses dangers for people below as well as above the age threshold. People below the age threshold will not be charged with the same level of responsibility for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and may falsely believe that they are not at high risk of serious illness or death. Government messaging that people aged 70 and over are vulnerable due to their age runs the risk that other groups may not take seriously messages about the need to maintain physical distance from others and to self-isolate. Messaging about how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus should apply to everyone irrespective of age.
  4. If people are to be motivated to change their behaviour, they need to accept that they are personally at risk (perhaps due to an underlying health condition or family circumstances). Sweeping age-related discrimination is unlikely to achieve the desired behaviour change. People who feel fit, strong and healthy will feel that the message does not apply to them and will characterise themselves as belonging to a group apart. The age-based messaging also risks pitting young against old. It may make older people feel resistant to what they are being told, which they do not see as applying to their situation. Media, government and public health professionals should strive to use language that resonates, rather than obfuscates, how people identify in their everyday lives.
  5. People of all ages, when staying at home or trying to distance themselves physically from others, remain members of families, friendship networks and communities. All measures should be implemented with an awareness of people’s need for social support and solidarity. It is clear that physical distancing needs to happen across the whole population at once, and sensible rules for maintaining mental and physical health during this period need to be employed. We cannot implement a policy that will severely weaken the physical and mental health of some age groups through isolation while others are more protected. Given the centrality of both mental and physical well-being, there is a need for clear guidance on what people can do to maintain and improve their physical and mental health while keeping physically apart from others. This will only be effective if the message from Government is not divisive around age.
  6. Research points to the fundamental importance of social connections for personal well-being and physical and mental health. The COVID-19 crisis has prompted considerable discussion of loneliness and social isolation amongst older people suggesting, quite wrongly, that these are vulnerable states that apply to older people alone. Increasingly, media discourse is also promoting the view that all older people are lonely and socially isolated. Contrary to this discourse, the evidence shows that loneliness and social isolation affect people of all ages. Recent studies suggest that young adults may be at greater risk of loneliness than older adults, with one in ten people aged 16-24 years being often lonely, compared to three per cent of people aged 65 and over. We also know that people can be lonely or socially isolated even when living with others. Loneliness and social isolation are already intractable social issues that warrant thought and action about connectedness and support across all age groups and communities. Evidence shows that being seen to be part of community life can act as a buffer against feelings of isolation, give people a sense of meaning in life, and protect against depression. Voluntary and community organisations, charities and statutory organisations should receive financial and structural support during this time to continue their longstanding work on tackling isolation and loneliness regardless of age. They should also be supported and encouraged to develop new strategies to improve the number and quality of people’s social connections during the current time. This should include using both old and new communication technologies, ranging from radio and TV to the internet and digital devices, to facilitate social connections between people of all ages. We should be thinking of this period as an opportunity to bring people and generations together, especially by helping to bridge digital divides across society where these exist.
  7. Living alone is a separate issue that has not been adequately considered or addressed. While this is an issue that disproportionately affects people aged 75 and over, especially older women, it affects all age groups and generations. About a third of men aged 80 and over are single, divorced or widowed, but this is the case for 70 per cent of women in this age group (see Table 4). There is an implicit assumption in much discussion about COVID-19 that people will have co-resident family members to look after them, to recognise that they are ill, to keep them hydrated, to help them if they are unable to get back to bed after going to the toilet, to try to encourage some nutrition or to call an ambulance. Co-resident family members can also advocate for hospitalisation or hospital care if needed. If people live alone and no-one is permitted to see them, who will do this? With a simple message to older people who live alone that they must cut themselves off from others, we are also conveying the message that we expect them to become ill without care and even die. Some countries have constructed and converted isolation centres to enable people with coronavirus to move to a place where they can be cared for appropriately, thus isolating them from families and friends but also offering access to care. There is an urgent need for clear policies aimed at supporting people who live alone of all ages. Equally, we need policies that can provide testing, intermediate care facilities (potentially requisitioning hotels, student accommodation, or office buildings), and tangible support for people who live alone.
  8. As well as health and social care workers, family and friends who will need to provide care to people who become unwell from the front line of society’s response to the pandemic and will need to be acknowledged and treated as such. For many people with families who they love and with whom they live or who live within close proximity, it is anathema to leave them to be severely ill, self-care in that state, and potentially die alone. Overwhelmingly, family members will provide hands-on care for one another. They will ignore entreaties to physically distance as they tend to their children, their spouses/partners and their parents and grandparents, knowingly taking risks as they do so. Families will do this for the loved ones they live with, and those they do not live with. To expect otherwise is to ignore the interconnectedness of families and the behaviour of people. Here, rather than tell families to ignore each other, we need to offer rapid testing, advice and supplies (masks where useful for intimate care, eye protection, gowns, gloves, sanitisers, soap). We should also beproviding financial support for people faced with additional costs associated with managing daily life when family members have coronavirus, such as keeping the washing machine running and purchasing cleaning and hygiene products. We need to ask people to isolate as connected clusters rather than keeping loved ones apart. We need to work with human behaviour and not against it.
  9. Special thought should be given to how people might connect with loved ones who live in care settings. Denying people the chance to see their friends and relatives where the physical and mental wellbeing of both depends on that contact, and where other forms of contact may well not be facilitated, is a most drastic curtailment of human rights and needs. Testing becomes crucial, to know who has had the virus, who may be immune, and who may be able to visit in a safe way without danger. Policy and practice should seek innovative ways for people to visit their loved ones virtually, or across physical or spatial barriers. We need to have a much more nuanced and evolving discussion of this particular challenge.
  10. Some common sense is also needed about so-called “self-isolation”. Socially isolating in a large house with a garden, good internet connection and a steady income is a completely different experience to socially isolating in a tiny flat, with no internet and under financial stress. Online food and other deliveries, which feature as a key policy response to coronavirus, are not an option for a large number of people, do not apply at all in many rural areas, and are already difficult to obtain as companies struggle to meet surging demand. We need to find a way to allow people to walk or cycle to local shops, to take exercise (for themselves and their pets), and to wave at one another and make social connections while maintaining a safe distance and observing hygiene requirements, without being singled out or intimidated. We need to think about sustainable policies, perhaps staggering who can go out for what purpose and when, how many people can be at particular places at a particular point in time, and national and reliable delivery of hand sanitisers to food shops and pharmacies on entry and exit. Maintaining physical and, especially, mental health whilst keeping people safe and well is a priority. Exercise, personal mobility and human contact are key to healthy ageing and need to be promoted long beyond the current pandemic.
  11. A key message from research on social aspects of ageing is that policy and practice should be attuned to the diversity of older people in countries like the UK. The older population is far from homogenous and differs substantially according to such characteristics as age, gender, ethnicity/race, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, marital status, household composition, place of residence and care roles. Given the diversity of older people, and the considerable social and spatial inequalities that characterise later life, broad-brush policy approaches based solely on chronological age are likely to disproportionately disadvantage some groups. They may also ignore the specific needs of marginalised groups of older people, including those who have particular health conditions, live in long-term care settings, are homeless, or are imprisoned. Research on ageing has made considerable progress in recent years in drawing attention to the heterogeneity of older people. It would be a highly retrograde step if this progress was undone by policy measures that reinforce the view that all people over a certain age share a particular set of characteristics.
  12. As well as preparing policies for living through this pandemic, we need to think about death, and the potential for death rates not witnessed for generations in the UK. We need sensible, realistic and emotionally supportive frameworks for attending funerals, and for coping with individual and collective grief. Such frameworks are needed regardless of the age of people coming to terms with loss.

In this unprecedented period, we call for urgent and ongoing data collection and rigorous analysis of social and economic inequalities, and of the impact of inequalities through this crisis on the living conditions of people, their mental and physical health, and mortality. We call for urgent policy action to redress these inequalities. COVID-19 is bringing into stark vision the impact of many years of politically motivated austerity policies that have substantially eroded health and social care services and community and voluntary sector support. The crisis demands an urgent reversal of these policies and calls for future investment in social as well as health care. In particular, we call for the social and domiciliary care workforce to be fairly treated. We call for them to be protected as front-line workers against this epidemic. We call for their high levels of skill to be recognised not only in the form of words, but also in terms of their pay, job security and working conditions.
If physical distancing policies are to succeed, they need to take account of who people are, how they perceive themselves, how they behave, and their emotional needs. Such policies will be difficult to police, and enforceable sanctions are hard to imagine. We need to carry the hearts and minds of the nation with us in the months ahead if we are to ensure the least physical interaction and least spread of the disease. The COVID-19 response emphasises more strongly than ever before the need for co-ordinated ageing policy that cuts across government departments.We note that policies identifying an arbitrary chronological age for restrictions of human liberties are out of line with approaches in other jurisdictions, including Scotland and Ireland. People of all ages are privileged with the same rights and policies need to be applied at population level.

Ageism – the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age – has detrimental consequences for societies and individuals. We reject firmly the ageist and stereotypical assumptions that underly public and policy pronouncements that rely solely on the application of chronological age.

We close by declaring our strong support and admiration for clinicians making hard decisions, including, in due course, potentially about rationing life-saving resources. In anticipation of these, we stress that it is not possible for clinicians to make moral judgements about the value of human life based on age. Faced by the pressures of a pandemic, clinicians will in all likelihood know next to nothing about the lives of the people they are being asked to treat and cannot weigh one life against another. All clinical decisions for access to testing and treatment as they unfold should be made on clinical need; using age alone as a criterion for decision making is fundamentally wrong.”

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.”

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. 

@TheKingsFund, @HealthFdn and @NuffieldTrust Warn of Urgent Need to Tackle NHS Workforce Crisis

In the three years or more that this Blog has existed, this topic is one that I have kept returning to. Finally we seem to have reached a point where what is going on is obvious to everyone.

According to The Nuffield Trust, The King’s Fund and the Health Foundation the UK is facing massive staff shortages across the National Health Service that are so severe that services will suffer, with no chance of the shortfall in GP’s ever being fully addressed. The report predicts that without the kind of actions the new report called Closing the Gap proposes, nurse shortages will double to 70,000 and the GP shortage in England would triple to 7,000 in just 5 years (by 2023/24).

For nursing alone the report concludes that even with grants and expansion of postgraduate training, bringing 5,000 more students onto nursing courses each year and actions to stop nurses leaving the NHS, the gap cannot be entirely filled domestically and that in order to keep services functioning, 5,000 nurses a year must therefore also be ethically recruited from abroad. Essentially rubbishing the salary restrictions to recruitment proposed in the Immigration White Paper.

In fact they suggest that the government needs to fund the visa costs incurred by NHS Trust recruitment. Also, as I have said on numerous occassions before in this blog a comprehensive overhaul of social care funding is needed immediately to stop the poor pay and condition that both drives staff away and makes new recruitment near impossible.

Apparently the NHS England’s own Workforce Implementation Plan is expected next month. My guess is that is being ripped up and binned as we speak along with the aspirations of the recent NHS Long Term Plan

To download the report in full GO HERE

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Social Care Workers in Scotland Put Up With Unfair Conditions

 

PUBLICATION-Social-care-report-01-FINAL-VERSION-sent-to-APS_revised-on...-1-pdfMost people probably missed this because as always this issue didn’t seem to be widely discussed. However, if you want to have a dedicated, committed and well-trained workforce you shouldn’t be undervaluing and treating the current workforce badly. Although this report is about the situation in Scotland it’s just as relevant to the whole of the UK and quite probably much of Europe and the Rest of the World

On 26th February 2019 the Fair Work Convention in Scotland published its report Fair Work in Scotland’s Social Care Sector 2019.

The report calls for urgent interventions by policy makers, commissioners and leaders in the social care sector to improve the quality of work and employment for the 200,000 strong workforce in Scotland. The social care workforce represents 7.7% of the total workforce – about 82% of them women. They include home care workers, residential carers, social workers, nurses and childcare staff.

The report highlights that many people are on precarious contracts in a sector in which they have little power or influence. Women told the Convention team that they enjoy being involved in people’s lives and like that they make a positive difference. However, society needs to value social care as a profession.

There is considerable use of zero-hours contracts, underemployment and seasonal contracts. The report says that staff also frequently worked beyond contracted hours and did unpaid overtime.

The convention, which advises the Scottish Government, called for a watchdog to monitor working conditions and draft a “fair work” contract. It also needs to take urgent action to bring about a radical overhaul of social care and to use fair work principles to drive high-quality services for some of our most vulnerable people.

This report goes on to makes recommendations about how to realise fair work for social care workers by setting out what policy makers, commissioners and leaders in Scotland’s social care sector can and should do.

The 18-month study was led by the chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland Henry Simmons and Lilian Macer from Unison.

To download and read the report go to https://www.fairworkconvention.scot/our-report-on-fair-work-in-social-care/

You might also want to look at the following report from the Scottish Social Services Council

The Scottish Social Service Sector: Report on 2017 Workforce Data, An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

Let’s hope that this report and the work of the convention will start to change the situation in Scotland at least.

Why are UK Citizens Overwhelmingly Negative About Getting Old?

‘The Perennials’, a study carried out in partnership between IPSOS MORI and the Centre for Ageing Better, reveals that just three in ten (30%) of UK adults say they are looking forward to later life. Half (50%) say they worry about getting old.

The Report called “The Perennials: The Future of Ageing” looks our ageing societies and the challenges and opportunities this presents. The Ipsos Mori study was global in that it was conducted and illustrates attitudes to ageing across 30 different countries.

Their research shows that, globally, there is a great deal of negativity towards later life, with financial and health concerns prevalent. However, much of this negativity is propagated by a media that does not do enough to portray later life as a time of potential. It is, therefore, perhaps, little surprise that when describing those in old age, people commonly reach for terms like ‘frail’, ‘lonely’.

However, as Ben Page, the Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI states this fails to do justice to the full diversity of experiences in later life.

The over-50s now command nearly half of all spending power in many countries.
People in their later years are increasingly packing their life to the full. For many, their reality doesn’t necessarily align with the labels the media are giving them. They are not slowing down but taking on new challenges, roles and responsibilities. Those with money to spend are smart about spending it.

They’re not digital natives but they are more connected than we give them credit for. They’re not withdrawing from life, but demanding more from it and from their societies.

Yes, old age is a time of great hardship and there are very real issues such as poverty,
isolation and ill-health that needs urgent attention. However, there is also another side of later life – one that we don’t hear about often enough because it doesn’t fit with ageist and lazy media stereotypes.

For a breath of fresh air visit the Report website at https://thinks.ipsos-mori.com/the-perennials-the-future-of-ageing/

To download and read the full report CLICK HERE

When Should We Start Discussing Retirement?

At the start of December, a landmark event for those planning to retire occurred almost without anyone noticing. The 6th of December was the first day that someone turning 65 was no longer eligible to collect their state pension but would have to wait; see https://www.yourpension.gov.uk/when-will-i-get-it/ for more specific details. The State Pensionable age is going to rise in phases until between 2037 and 2039 it equalises at age 68 for all.

If you are a UK citizen and interested in finding out when you will be eligible for your state pension you can also go the following Government page: https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age

On the 6th of December, the Centre for Better Ageing published a new report indicating that a significant number of people are worried about leaving work which highlights a lack of planning and preparation for retirement across society. Unfortunately, that’s not a new finding but what is worrying is that the poorest prepared are those on the lowest incomes. It also shows that women tend to engage in planning for life after paid work even less than men.  Very concerning when you consider the current Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign and the continuing plight of women born during the 1950’s.

The Centre for Ageing Better is calling on employers to consider the role they play in improving peoples’ transition into retirement and to provide their staff with a supportive environment in which to discuss, plans and prepare for retirement.  The government should also play its part by promoting existing guidance and support employers to have more open workplace discussions about age and provide employees with the tools they need to plan their transition towards retirement.

You can see their full report at  https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/news/transition-to-retirement-rapid-evidence-review

My Worries About Adult Social Care

Last month the Skills for Care: Workforce Intelligence Group published its report on “The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England”

A summary of some of the highlights of this report is contained in the infographic below.

StateInfografic

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK in their recent Blog about this report shares many of my concerns.

About 130,000 new workers are needed each year just to keep the number of care workers in balance with the number of workers we need already. This figure though masks an even bigger problem that faces us in the future.  The numbers of over 65’s in England will increase by 2035 from the current 10 million to around 14.5 million people (about 44%). If the balance between the numbers of older and disabled people remains the same then around 650,000 extra recruits will be needed in adult social care by 2035.

The situation in Scotland is very similar. In March 2018 Scottish Care released a report into the situation in Scotland called The 4 R’s Report it highlighted that the care sector in Scotland is also experiencing a severe recruitment and retention crisis. Care homes employ almost 5,000 nurses (approximately 10% of the total nursing workforce in Scotland) but data included in Scottish Care’s Independent Sector Nursing Data report suggested that there is a care home nurse vacancy level of 31% – up from 28% in 2016.

Approximately 6% of the care home workforce originate from the European Union and a further 6% from other countries. In relation to nurses, this EU figure increases to nearly 8%. Although not directly comparable the English report gives a real figure for their sector pointing out that 104,000 jobs are filled by people with an EU nationality.

As we stumble towards a Brexit cliff, our departure from the EU is bound to have a  significant impact on the care home sector labour market and area of the economy that we are already struggling to recruit to. So its time for action. Care workers play an absolutely vital role in the lives of many older and disabled people and we know we haven’t got enough of them to meet demand even now.

It’s not too late for the UK Government to look again at how care workers from the EU should be treated now and after Brexit. There are many good reasons to reject the notion that Adult Social care is a low skilled job that merits only low pay. Providing care to people in our communities is an essential occupation, on which increasing numbers of older people and disabled people depend.

Age UK has just written to the Home Secretary to urge the Government to exempt care workers from the rules around so-called low skilled workers from the EU post-Brexit. Let’s hope the government are listening, although there is no sign yet… See Business leaders warn of Brexit impact on social care following policy announcement

 

 

 

 

 

Global Disability Summit 2018

In London on 24th July, the first-ever Global Disability Summit, co-hosted by the UK and Kenya Governments and the International Disability Alliance took place. The Summit aims to bring attention to the rights of people with disability. Organisers and delegates hope to mobilise new global and national commitments on disability while showcasing good practice, innovation and evidence from across the world. The four main themes of the Summit were

  1. Dignity and respect for all
  2. Inclusive Education
  3. Economic Empowerment
  4. Harnessing Technology and Innovation

OK, so why am I drawing you attention to this? Let’s take a closer look.

Globally, people over the age of 60 account for at least 38 per cent of the population living with disability. In developing countries, this figure jumps to over 43 per cent. According to the World Health Organization and the World Bank, the prevalence of disability also increases significantly with age. Crucially, women are more affected than men in relation to disability as there is a much higher number of women living longer with disability than men. People with disability have been marginalised in society throughout history and being older with disability can make you almost invisible.

The summit’s goal is to create a charter for change that governments and organisations can sign up to. A copy of the 10 points for change and a list of the governments and organisation that have signed up to them can be found on the Summit’s Charter for Change page.  You can also download the charter in a number of formats from that page.