Category Archives: Health

Tackling excess winter deaths and fuel poverty

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This time last year, the Excess Winter Deaths statistics showed an enormous jump to over 40,000 for the previous winter.    This year, the number returned to its trend line, at 24,300 (including 20,800 amongst the over 65s) in England and Wales during the winter of 2015/16.   But if this lower figure is ‘normal’, it is still a disgraceful situation. Continue reading

Guest blog: Keeping warm in winter – physiology, behaviour or both?

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This guest blog was contributed by Christopher Eccleston is Professor of Medical Psychology at the University of Bath, and the author of ‘Embodied: the psychology of physical sensation’

Winter’s approach reminds us that staying warm is a challenge.  In 2014-2015, in England and Wales alone, there were 36,300 preventable winter deaths due to cold exposure among people age 75 and over. We survive in a narrow core bodily temperature range of only a few degrees – human core temperature is around 37ᵒC, we dip into hypothermia at 35ᵒC and hyperthermia is not far above core temperature – and have to keep within the range when the world outside our bodies is more extreme. Even in England, temperatures have been as low as -26.1ᵒC and as high as 38.5ᵒC.

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Guest blog: Continuing to care?

This guest post was contributed by Morgan Vine, Chair of the Continuing Healthcare Alliance, and Policy and Campaigns Adviser at Parkinson’s UK. 

My Nan lived with Parkinson’s and developed dementia later in her life. Luckily, we found a wonderful residential home which gave her the high quality, compassionate care that she needed.  – also known as NHS continuing care or NHS CHC – was never mentioned to us, despite Nan having incredibly high needs. Looking back, I think it probably should have been. But part of me is grateful that, as a family, we didn’t have to struggle through this complex and confusing process.

Now, as a Policy and Campaigns adviser at Parkinson’s UK, I am all too familiar with NHS CHC and how it is letting people down across England.
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Reflecting on food standards in hospitals

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In this blog post, Dianne Jeffrey, Chairman of Age UK and Chair of the Hospital Food Standards Panel, reflects on hospital food. 

Going into hospital can be very worrying.

You may be in pain and nervous about what’s going to happen next, feel disorientated by being in a busy environment, or find it distressing being away from loved ones.

All this can be compounded by having no control over food, or by being served food that’s unappetising and unappealing.

However, getting hospital food and drink right is critical. After all, good nutrition and hydration are a vital part of the healing and recovery process for all patients.
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