Under pressure – continuing healthcare

Older woman with carer

This blog post was contributed by Angela Kitching, Joint Head of External Affairs at Age UK. 

Staffing the ‘Campaigns’ inbox for Age UK is one of the more challenging tasks for our team. People email us about our campaigns, they tell us what’s wrong with the world, what’s wrong with the Government or the NHS and what we should be doing to sort it out; then we have to respond. Usually, the Monday morning run through of the inbox trying to make sure everyone gets an answer or is directed to the help or advice they need, is quite a task. This Monday was no exception.
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Not an ‘either/or’: Health and Care both urgently need investment in the Budget

Today Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, is reported to be making a call for more funding from the forthcoming Budget, warning that without it the quality of healthcare available to us all is sure to suffer.

His is a call that Age UK supports. The numbers speak for themselves: the NHS is experiencing a degree of sustained belt-tightening that is unprecedented in modern times – this while an ageing population is inevitably increasing the demand for services.

From an Age UK perspective we worry a lot about the impact of this stress in the system on older people, for whom the ability to get the right treatment and support quickly is hugely important – whether it is to help them sustain good health and wellbeing or because they have health and care problems that need to be addressed.  Continue reading “Not an ‘either/or’: Health and Care both urgently need investment in the Budget”

Guest blog: It’s in the bag

Older woman with carer

This guest blog was contributed by the New Care Homes Programme at NHS England.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – and one that’s spreading fast is the hospital red bag.

First conceived by the Sutton Homes of Care vanguard, the red bag – more formally known as the hospital transfer pathway – is having a definite impact.

Care home residents are more than three times as likely to be admitted to hospital as other over 65-year-olds. Visits can be confusing, particularly as eight out of 10 residents live with dementia.

The red bag makes transfers in and out of hospital more streamlined for hospital staff, care homes staff, first responders – and the patient. Continue reading “Guest blog: It’s in the bag”

We are living on borrowed time in saving social care for older people


Over the past year the chorus of voices calling for more funding for social care has become increasingly unanimous and urgent. Age UK’s new report, The Health and Care of Older People in England, provides stark evidence of the suffering that many older people with care needs are experiencing, and of the need for immediate action to avert system collapse.
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Implementing John’s Campaign – improving the quality of care and experiences of people with dementia in hospitals

Nicci Gerrard on holiday with her father, John, in Sweden last year.
Nicci Gerrard with her father John, the inspiration behind John’s Campaign

There’s no doubt that a familiar face, like that of a loved one and carer, can really put a person with dementia at ease during a hospital stay. The benefit to patient, family and staff is immeasurable; vital not only to settle the person, but to aid communication and prepare them for diagnostics or treatment, thereby helping professionals carry out their jobs. The carer may also be able to provide vital information and background, or support and stimulate a restless patient as opposed to leaving them confused and bed bound.

John’s Campaign, founded in 2014 by Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones, calls for an end to restrictive visiting hours in hospitals to enable more people with dementia to benefit from the support of a carer when they need it.

Continue reading “Implementing John’s Campaign – improving the quality of care and experiences of people with dementia in hospitals”

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


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.
Continue reading “Reflecting on food standards in hospitals”