Not Enough Publicity. This is All About Improving Older People’s Care!

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Two important documents that have been published this week. One from NHS Improvement and another from Public Health England.

Despite their importance though you’d be hard-pressed to know they were available.

So there is now a guide to reducing long hospital stays and further guidance on falls and falls prevention and you probably haven’t even noticed.

So first of all reducing long hospital stays. In NHS England, nearly 350,000 patients currently spend over three weeks in acute hospitals each year. Many are older people with a reduced functional ability (frailty) or who have a cognitive impairment. The benefits to the UK NHS and other healthcare systems of reducing hospital bed occupancy are clear. However, as everyone knows trying to achieve this is very difficult, particularly during the winter pressure for beds. So what can be done?

This week NHS Improvement released their “Guide to Reducing Long Hospital Stays”. Click the link and you’ll get to the page you can download it from.

Their guide is primarily aimed at acute and community trusts, but also makes reference to how system partners can play a supporting role.

Also this week (yesterday June 14th.) Public Health England’s Guide on Falls was updated.  Called Falls: applying All Our Health the guide includes core principles for healthcare professionals to follow and a large number of resources and examples of good practice from some key national agencies. Click on the link and go and explore, and see if you can adopt some of the measures suggested or check if you are doing these already.

So if these are such an important phenomenon to tackle why did these document releases not get more publicity?

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A Xmas Mash-up

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Firstly a Very Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this that celebrates. If you don’t, hope you are enjoying the winter solstice which is a much older festival and was celebrated more widely (Stonehenge for example is aligned to sunrise on the winter solstice).

So after a few weeks of mainly single topics this week I have decided to be a bit more eclectic!

Firtly, its good to see that Age UK have just launched a new resource which offers practical advice on providing the kind of services in which older lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people can feel safe to be themselves. Called the Safe to be me resource guide, it has been written for anyone working or volunteering in health, social care or the voluntary sector who supports older people who are LGBT. It will also prove useful for people involved in training because it encourages them integrate discussions and scenarios relating to the needs of people who are LGBT into what they provide.

Secondly another of these great papers which tells you more about the things you take for granted. This time its about the healing power of music! An easy thing to say and something we are all probably aware of BUT what is music actually doing?

Well this paper from a team based at the University of Helsinki in Finland has a go at answering that question for people with neurological conditions. It is a literature review that looks at music’s potential for aiding the rehabilitation of people with various neurological conditions. Evidence of an impact is greatest for stroke and dementia, but music-based interventions can also help cognition, motor function and emotional well-being in people with Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. More of their findings can be found HERE

 

Finally and totally unrelated to anything above, I found an open access literature review on appropriate ways to measure lying and standing blood pressure in hospital for frail older adults. So for all of you concerned about older people who fall frequently possibly because of postural hypertension here is a guide to the:

Measurement of lying and standing blood pressure in hospital

Can we have more open access article like this RCNi?

 

Looking After Your Musculoskeletal Health

This week in Public Health England’s Health Matters Blog they have chosen to focus on older people’s Musculoskeletal (MSK) Health. A good time of year to focus on this as today the outside temperature across most of Scotland today fell to -2 degrees Celsius. So its a high risk of falls day (and a put on your big coat day as we’d say here)

The Public Health Blog focusses on the burden of the three groups of MSK conditions:

  • Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Conditions of musculoskeletal pain such as osteoarthritis and back pain
  • Osteoporosis and fragility fractures such as fracture after fall

As well as age, the prevalence of MSK conditions is being fuelled by rising levels of physical inactivity and obesity, and poor health habits such as smoking. MSK conditions are a substantial problem for individuals and the NHS. The blog looks at how local authorities, commissioners, healthcare professionals, and the private and voluntary sectors can all contribute towards promoting productive healthy ageing and preventing the onset of MSK conditions. It includes a set of infographics and slides to support local commissioning and service delivery, as well as best practice case studies, so why not have a look and make use of them.  See

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/06/health-matters-productive-healthy-ageing-and-musculoskeletal-health/

We Like NIHR Signals!

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.

 

The Importance of Vision Assessment

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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

 

 

Unintentional Ageism and Some Fab Stuff

I am not expecting this to surprise many of you by saying that the leading cause of trauma to older people is falls from a standing height, most of which happen at home. However what will surprise you is that a ten-year study by the Trauma Audit and Research Network revealed that this is the leading cause of major trauma across the country ahead of road traffic accidents, work-based accidents and assaults.

So what’s that got to do with unintentional ageism?  Janet Morrison,  who has written this week’s blog post for campaigning and support group Independent Age explains very nicely how Trauma Centre’s (A&E’s) are set up to deal with younger people with high impact injuries but that is no longer the bulk of their work. The report itself is very revealing particularly in relation to what happens next after an older person’s trauma is recognised. To read or listen to Janet’s blog click here

If you are dealing with falls, particularly falls at home, regularly you may find this page useful 

If falls are not your thing the here is somewhere else to go browsing. This is a link to the Academy of Fabulous Stuff. 

If you want to know what it’s about and what it does watch the video: