Unfavourable Views of Hospital Care in England are Strongly Linked to Nurse Numbers. Is That a Surprise?

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Now at a time when the Government and all of the national media looks hell-bent on convincing everyone here in the UK that the NHS is broken, rather than being underfunded and under-resourced in terms of staff and beds; there has been very little space given to the published results of the 2010 NHS Survey of Inpatients and a BMJ paper published this month which shows that Patients’ unfavourable views of hospital care in England are strongly linked to insufficient numbers of nurses on duty, rather than uncaring staff, indicates observational research. The paper was published in the online journal BMJ Open so it’s not exactly hidden from journalists politicians etc.

Perhaps pointing out that the number of vacancies in the NHS has soared by 15.8% over the last year, prompting warnings that the service is facing “desperate” problems of understaffing is not what politicians want you to hear. Particularly concerning were the figures for England released in July 2017 by NHS Digital that showed that the number of full-time equivalent posts available rose from 26,424 in March 2016 to 30,613 in March 2017 – the highest number on record.

What this has done is fuel a public view that the NHS is worse than it used to be and that staff are less caring etc. The reality is really very different as any9one working for it knows. Can we please celebrate the success of the NHS at 70 (which happens on the 5th. of July 2018) and stop trying to undermine it. Yes the NHS does need to be reformed, but it would help to see it properly staffed first.

NHSat70

This week I was involved in publishing a Blog for “Ageing Issues” The blogging space for members of the British Society of Gerontology (BSG) where they discuss contemporary issues raised by ageing societies. The blog was about the BSG small event we held here @uwshealth in Hamilton in August. To read more about it see:

https://ageingissues.wordpress.com/2018/01/09/past-present-and-future-supporting-novice-researchers/

Another great find this week. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation this month launched a new Data Information Source that collects together the latest UK poverty data, statistics and analysis from the JRF’s Analysis Unit. This page is a great tool for to finding information about poverty rates and related issues in the United Kingdom and you can access it from here:

UK Poverty Data

 

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Safe Staffing Again and ICope

Since it’s all over the UK news this morning I think I have to mention Safe Staffing Levels and the current shortage of healthcare staff across virtually all sectors of healthcare in the UK. Today the RCN have released their Safe and Effective Staffing Report, to a flurry of publicity about this issue. (to see their Safe Staffing page, which includes the report click here )

Some 30,000 staff, including midwives and healthcare support workers, took part in this piece of online research and the RCN describes their stories as “desperately sad”. It’s quite an emotive topic surrounded by political spin (See this BBC article for example) but in the end, its primarily older people who are affected by these shortages and that’s not always clear. In a previous report back in May, the RCN stated what it thought should be done to tackle this ongoing crisis. I wish this was a new issue, I wish I could see some positive steps to improve the situation but so far there is not much progress (See my own post from March last year!) You should note also that this is not just a Nursing crisis the same is true for AHP’s and Doctors.

OK onto better news… This week the WHO launched its Integrated Care for Older People Guidelines (ICOPE, maybe the best acronym ever), asking for individual and systems level changes to be undertaken by all member countries to respond to the needs of older people with a focus on reorienting primary care providers and health systems to respond to the great diversity in physical and mental capacities of older populations and provide care that is person-centred and integrated across health care services, settings which is coordinated with social care. The UK has been struggling with this for a number of years now but progress has been made. If these guidelines are adopted by more countries the hopefully responsive integrated care won’t be an innovation it will be the way all health care is delivered.

Watch out USA one of its key platforms is Universal Health Coverage

Found this about Integrated People Centred Care and I love it. This is what everyone needs to know as healthcare reforms.

Becoming a Delirium Champion

Well done RCN Older People’s Forum and My Dementia Improvement Network for getting behind a campaign to raise awareness of identifying delirium not just in hospital but also within the community. Older people with multiple long term conditions are particularly vulnerable to delirium but are also the most likely not to have it spotted until the possibility of a poor outcome is more likely. To find out more about becoming a delirium champion and get a resource pack to help raise awareness of the need to identify delirium early visit this RCN page.  

I just wished they hadn’t used the label “champion”. Particularly as someone involved in training Scotland’s National Dementia Champions; who are already encouraged to raise awareness of this issue.

Still, it’s a very appropriate issue to highlight during Dementia Awareness Month

Amongst all the worldwide weather chaos that we are currently experiencing I think I should also highlight the biggest one and the one that has the most impact on older people and that is the East Asia Floods. Although its probably the least reported it already has the most deaths reportedly caused by it and has affected by far the most people. The burden in such chaos often falls on older people. To learn more and maybe to contribute to the relief fund please visit Age International South Asia Floods

Dementia Awareness Month Begins

It’s the 1st of September, so as always this is the commencement of World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

 

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World Alzheimer’s Month has been observed in September every year since its launch in September 2012. The decision to introduce a full month, to contain the existing World Alzheimer’s Day, which is on the 21st. of September every year was made to enable national and local Alzheimer associations worldwide to extend the reach of their awareness programmes over a longer period. The 21st of September was chosen because it marked the opening of Alzheimer’s Disease International’s (ADI’s) annual conference in Edinburgh on 21 September 1994 which was the organisations 10th anniversary.

 

For more information about this years theme and campaign click here.

It also means that the next World Alzheimers Report will be released. This year the aim is to highlight the importance of early detection and diagnosis of dementia. So look out for it’s publication around the time of World Alzheimer’s Day.

Past, Present and Future: Supporting Novice Researchers

BSG Logo

On Thursday 31st August 2017, the University of the West of Scotland School of Health Nursing and Midwifery is hosting a British Society of Gerontology event at the Caird Building, Hamilton Campus. The event is also being supported by NHS Lanarkshire. Called:

The Past, Present and Future: Supporting Novice Researchers

The aim of the event is to bring together students, older people, practitioners and lecturers from across Lanarkshire to look at some of the research and work carried out previously and discuss possibilities for researching key later life issues considered important locally.

We have a number of places for staff, students and older people living and working locally to attend what will be an interesting day here at the Caird Building.

Details of the day can be downloaded from here

Plan for BSG Day_31stAug17

The day also includes the launch of the School’s Tovertafel

Which will be used in a co-operative project with Udston Hospital and Erskine Care Homes

If you would like to book a place to come along please contact Caroline Gibson at caroline.gibson@uws.ac.uk or phone 016984441.

(It’s free, but places are restricted).

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.

 

Recognising the Work of Scotland’s National Dementia Champions

Nicola Wood

Congratulations to Nicola Wood who works at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert Scotland who this year was Highly Commended in The Nursing Older People category of the RCNi  Nurse Awards 2017. Nicola’s work on reducing hospital interhospital movement for people with dementia featured in the July edition of Nursing Older People. You can see an item about the article at the Nursing Older People Journal site at the moment. As you might know, the School of Nursing here at the University of the West of Scotland are responsible for delivering the National Dementia Champions programme and Nicola is one of the 700 plus champions already out in the field. See National Dementia Champions

If you want to find out more about more what else the National Dementia Champions are involved in go to Twitter and look for #oneweething