health and social care news from across the world

Browse all the latest news and media from the UK and across the world.

Mental Health Awareness Week – 13th to 19th May 2019

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week – and what better time to show your support for better mental health.

Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, and the charity Mind always on hand to provide to offer information and support for anyone that needs it. But this week is a great time to have a chat with a friend, family member or colleague and have think about your own wellbeing too.

Mind have lots of resources and here are some top tips from them on How to improve you mental wellbeing. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/wellbeing/#.XNqo_Nh7lLM

 

The power of music: Vicky McClure’s dementia choir BBC1 Thursday 2nd May 2019 at 9pm

Actress Vicky McClure has set up a dementia choir in memory of her grandmother who lived with the condition and died in 2015.

While caring for her ‘nonna’, McClure noticed that music, in particular singing together, brought a smile to her face

A million people in the UK are expected to be living with dementia by 2025. While there is no cure, there’s growing evidence that music can help ameliorate symptoms such as depression and agitation, and also bring these people and their families some much-needed moments of joy.

The choir’s singers wore a wristband that measured heart rate, temperature, movement, and “electrodermal activity” – sweat levels on the skin. The results showed that movement and heart rate decreased during the choir rehearsals. People living with dementia can often feel agitated and restless, so these scores probably indicate that they’re feeling calmer as they sing.

That was also the message from the survey asking the singers how they felt – which showed a positive effect on their wellbeing.

A research review published in 2018, looking at music therapy trials in nursing homes or hospitals, found that the sessions improved symptoms of depression and behavioural problems in people with dementia, but said more research was needed to determine the duration and other effects.

Other reviews have found evidence that music therapy can help decrease agitation, and that music therapy is effective for reducing behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-48124591

Thousands with dementia missing out on council tax discount –  April 2019

A huge number of people with ‘mental impairments’ such as learning disabilities, dementia and Parkinson’s are missing out on discounts on their council tax bills, due to a lack of awareness. In England, Scotland and Wales, if you live on your own and have a severe mental impairment you don’t have to pay council tax and you can claim back any that you have paid while you were living alone. If you live with an adult with severe mental impairment you are entitled to a 25 per cent council tax discount. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/severe-mental-impairment-dementia-council-tax-rebate/

Nash Homecare nominated for prestigious award.

We are thrilled to be listed as finalists in 3 categories of the Home Care Awards 2019. This is testament to all the hard work and support the Nash Homecare team provide to our clients and each other.

“There are some fascinating entries to be found on the short-list and improved business performance and innovation stories abound” reports Helen Warrilow, commercial director for the Awards, “and the broad spread of organisations entering make the Awards representative of the dynamic home care sector, ranging from start-ups to major franchise operations.”

the award winners will be announced in May so watch this space!
For more information visit www.homecareawards.com/results/

The Government ‘Everyday is Different’ campaign. March 2019

In adult social care, no two days are the same. But don’t take our word for it – take a look at what people who work in social care have to say, and find out if it could be right for you. https://www.everydayisdifferent.com/home.aspx

‘A Minimum Price for Homecare’ published March 2019

UKHCA has published an updated ‘A Minimum Price for Homecare’ briefing. The calculations in this latest version have been updated for the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, and the second planned increase in minimum pension contributions (both of which come into force in April 2019).

UKHCA‘s minimum price for homecare services of £18.93 per hour from April 2019 allows full compliance with the National Minimum Wage and the delivery of sustainable homecare services to local authorities and the NHS.

A copy of the updated briefing can be found on the UKHCA Resources and Downloads page.

People are dying before they receive a care service – February 2019

More than 50,000 older people have died waiting in vain for a care service in the 700 days since the Government first said it would publish an Adult Social Care Green Paper, say Age UK.

According to Age UK, 54,025 older people have died while waiting for a care package to be put in place for them. This is in the period from March 2017, when the Government announced their intention to produce a Green Paper, and February 2019.

Over the same period, Age UK say that in excess of half a million older people (626,701) have had their requests for social care refused by their council, and 7,240 older people have had the experience of running down all their savings because of care bills.  Age UK

 

Puzzle solving ‘won’t stop mental decline’ BBC Health News – December 2018

Doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku does not protect against mental decline, according to a new study. The idea of “use it or lose it” when it comes to our brains in later life has previously been widely accepted. But the new Scottish study showed that people who regularly do intellectual activities throughout life have higher mental abilities. This provides a “higher cognitive point” from which to decline, say the researchers. But the study did not who that they decline any slower.  The work, published in the BMJ, was undertaken by Roger Staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the University of Aberdeen. Source BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46507024

No proof that ‘daily bursts of exercise’ can prevent dementia: NHS news – October 2018

“Dementia can be beaten with 10-minute bursts of daily exercise,” is the overly optimistic headline in the Daily Mirror.

The claim is prompted by a small study from researchers in Japan who recruited 36 healthy young adults and asked them to do 10 minutes of gentle exercise on an exercise bike. They then gave the participants a memory test.  More info here NHS News

Elderly care: are there lessons UK can learn from Netherlands? August 2018

The number of people in the UK aged over 85 who’ll need round the clock care is set to double by 2035, according to a major new study. But there could be an alternative solution to the standard model of an old people’s home, like that being developed in The Netherlands.

The country is already known for pioneering work in dementia care – what they call Dementia Whispering, which is a way of reconnecting with those who have the disease.

https://www.channel4.com/news/elderly-care-are-there-lessons-uk-can-learn-from-netherlands

Poor rural broadband means elderly people in the countryside will miss out on the healthcare revolution. July 2018

Technology has been touted as the answer to social care shortfalls, but those most in need could be unable to access crucial at-home help – because rural internet is too slow. It said people living outside cities were still struggling with slow internet, which could prevent them using smart devices which can monitor someone’s activity and alert family or carers if something goes wrong.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/03/poor-rural-broadband-means-elderly-people-countryside-will-miss/

Dementia crisis WARNING: Millions who could be affected ‘doing NOTHING to prepare’.  June 2018

BRITAIN is heading towards a dementia crisis as millions of people who will be affected by the disease do nothing to prepare for it, a hard-hitting report warns today. By 2025, more than 13m people who are at risk of mental incapacity will be unprepared, with no legal or medical plans in place for their future care.

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/983237/dementia-crisis-people-at-risk-do-nothing-to-prepare

‘Social care on its knees and government must act on funding and staff this year, MPs warn.’  May 2018

The government must announce and implement a credible solution to address the long-term underfunding of adult social care by the end of 2018, MPs have said.

A green paper from the Department of Health and Social Care, expected in summer, also risks underestimating the challenges in resolving the crisis, particularly in retaining underpaid, poorly motivated staff after Brexit.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/social-care-elderly-disabilities-brexit-government-mps-japan-a8341611.html

Homes of elderly should be used to fund social care, NHS head says. April 2018

Pensioners’ homes should be used to fund social care instead of major tax rises on those of working age, the head of the NHS has said.

Simon Stevens said the “accumulated housing wealth” held by older generations should be used to pay for their care, saying they were in a “relatively advantaged position” compared to younger generations.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/24/homes-elderly-should-used-fund-social-care-nhs-head-says/

‘Japan lays groundwork for boom in robot carers’. February 2018

Japan’s elderly are being told to get used to being looked after by robots.

With Japan’s ageing society facing a predicted shortfall of 370,000 caregivers by 2025, the government wants to increase community acceptance of technology that could help fill the gap in the nursing workforce.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/06/japan-robots-will-care-for-80-of-elderly-by-2020

‘What is ‘Aussie’ flu and should we be worried?’ January 2018

The NHS is preparing itself for a bad flu season.

One of the strains circulating this year – H3N2 – has been dubbed Aussie flu because it is the same strain that recently caused big problems for Australia. Australia’s 2017 flu season was the worst the country had experienced in nearly a decade. Experts are waiting to see if similar will happen in the UK, after a recent rise in cases.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42602394

Older people taking multiple medications more likely to fall over  – 24th October 2017

Older people who take a combination of at least five different medications are 21 per cent more likely to fall over, according to a new study by researchers from the Leicester Diabetes Centre, at the University of Leicester.

Read the full article here.

Game of Thrones Star Kit Harrington voices concerns about back dated pay for night carers 6th September 2017

Games of Thrones star, who plays the hero Jon Snow in the hit TV show, has waded into an argument about the Government’s decision to make care providers pay as much as six years’ worth of wages owed to ‘sleep-in’ care workers.

Channel 4 news video

GPs warn against routine use of statins in a bid to stop over-prescribing – 1st August 2017

Doctors are urging caution over the routine prescription of statins on the NHS, in response to a study suggesting most older people should receive the medicine to reduce the risk of heart attacks.

A study by Harvard University, published in the British Journal of General Practice, looked into the risk of heart attacks and suggested the possibility of using statins as a preventative measure, however the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has warned that the potential to overprescribe statins exists and could have serious implications for patients as well as GPs.

Further details here

Brain gyms growing in popularity as way of combating dementia 30th June 2017

Brain gyms are becoming increasingly popular in the UK as a way of combating dementia and memory impairment problems. Brains in Action (BRINA) has recently opened two in North London and has found the demand to be so high that it is opening another six in other areas in London and Hertfordshire.

Click here for more info.

Over 65s with care needs to rise by a quarter by 2025 – 24th May 2017

The number of people over the age of 65 who will need care could rise by 25 per cent to 2.8m by 2025 in England and Wales, resulting in more people with disabilities such as dementia.

According to research published in The Lancet Public Health journal, the number of people living into old age is estimated to increase by more than half a million (560,000 people) by 2025, when compared to 2015.

Carehome News

Experts excited by brain ‘wonder-drug’  – 24th April 2017

Scientists hope they have found a drug to stop all neurodegenerative brain diseases, including dementia.
In 2013, a UK Medical Research Council team stopped brain cells dying in an animal for the first time, creating headline news around the world. But the compound used was unsuitable for people, as it caused organ damage. Now two drugs have been found that should have the same protective effect on the brain and are already safely used in people.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39641123

MP’s Debate health and Social Care Budgets. – 18th March 2017

MPs discussed health and social care funding in a Westminster Hall debate on 14 March 2017 led by Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Hillier. While £2bn additional funding was welcomed, MPs were in no doubt that a longer term solution to the issues facing health and social care was needed, which addressed both sectors and secured public support. The Budget measures were a help but not sufficient, because they were not long-term funding and did not represent a strategy to close the gap between resources and patients’ needs. MPs called for more detail about the proposed Green Paper, the timescale for publication and information on what is happening with phase 2 of the Care Act (the Dilnot cap on funding), which has been postponed, possibly to 2020. Hansard report of debate on 14 March 2017.

Select Committee calls for action on social care funding – 6th March 2017

Before the Spring Budget on Wednesday (8th March), the Communities and Local Government Committee has called on the Government to bring forward money to fill the social care ‘funding gap’, estimated to be between £1.3 to £1.9 billion in 2017/18.

The interim report, which highlights the pressures on local authority budgets and the financial sustainability of the sector, is an outcome of the Committee’s inquiry into adult social care that UKHCA provided evidence to last year.

The Committee expects the final report to be published in the next few months. Further information can be found on the Committee website.

Act F.A.S.T. campaign returns to encourage people to call 999 at sign of a stroke – 26th February 2017

Public Health England has relaunched the “Act FAST” stroke campaign, working closely with the Stroke Association. This aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and encourage people who recognise any single one of the symptoms of stroke, in themselves or others, to call 999 immediately.

This is important for people who are more likely to experience a stroke including people with medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat). The campaign is built around the ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym. For more information and leaflets go to nhs.uk/ActFast

Care in a post-Brexit climate – 1.6 million workers needed up to 2022  – 10 February 2017

A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) looks at how to raise standards and meet workforce challenges of care in the UK, including chronic underinvestment, the reliance on a low paid, poorly trained workforce and high levels of staff turnover. It considers the challenges of the UK leaving the EU and projects ‘the UK will need to have recruited and trained 1.6 million low-skill health and social care workers up to 2022 in order to replace those leaving the profession as well as to meet increased demand. This is the equivalent of two-thirds of the current low-skill health and social care workforce, and is larger than for any other occupation in the UK.’

More from: www.ippr.org/publications/care-in-a-post-brexit-climate

Councils angry at government’s social care offer – BBC News 16th December 2016

Councils say it is “hugely disappointing” that the government has not given them extra money to tackle shortfalls in social care funding.   https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38319342

Raising council tax to fund social care will ‘worsen postcode lottery’.  Sky News 13th December 2016

The Prime Minister is reported to be preparing to allow tax precepts to be increased as experts warn the social care system could “topple over at any moment”, leaving the poorest “living a squalid life”

https://news.sky.com/story/raising-council-tax-to-fund-social-care-will-worsen-postcode-lottery-10693214

Cost of social care has rocketed over last year, analysis shows. The Guardian 5th December 2016

The cost of social care rocketed over the last year, even as the proportion of services ranked good or outstanding fell, according to a new analysis.Concerns are growing over the UK social care system’s inability to cope with an ageing population and pressures on budgets.

‘Bored stiff’ Devon pensioner, 89, seeks job  – 30th November 2016

Pensioner Joe Bartley, 89, was so bored being retired he put an ad in his local paper asking for work.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-38151998

 

A US study identifies a downward trend in dementia rates.  – 24th November 2016

Data from 21,057 people over the age of 65 in the US showed the proportion with dementia fell from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2587084

 

Dementia rates show signs of falling. BBC News 20th November 2016

There is growing evidence that the dementia crisis may not be as bad as first feared, say researchers. A study suggests the proportion of elderly people developing dementia is falling in the US – backing up similar findings in the UK and Europe. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38026696

Alzheimer’s Research UK have just released their moving Christmas video message. – 23rd November 2016

Click on this link to watch it 

Reviews of Nash Homecare

A report published today by the Local Government Ombudsman highlights concerns surrounding home care provision. 10th November 2016

‘It’s often the little things that mean so much to them in maintaining their dignity, independence and a good quality of life. Consistency of care is vital to those who rely on these services.’ Click here for the report

This winters advice from NHS Staywell campaign…

The cold and damp weather – ice, snow and cold winds – can be bad for your health. It can make you more more vulnerable to winter illnesses, such as coughs and colds, which could become very serious. It also increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke. However, there are things you can do.