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

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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

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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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Guest blog: Prestigious award for pharmacist who goes the extra mile for community

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Olutayo Arikawe: I Love My Pharmacist Award winner

Olutayo Arikawe, a community pharmacist in Dudley, has been chosen as the national winner of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s I Love My Pharmacist Award.

The ‘I Love My Pharmacist Award’ recognises the vital role pharmacists play across the NHS.  Often the unsung heroes of the health service, they work alongside GPs, nurses and hospital staff, as well as in the community.

Olutayo always puts the community first and she is involved in many other interventions to help patients improve their health, reaching out far wider than her pharmacy itself. Continue reading “Guest blog: Prestigious award for pharmacist who goes the extra mile for community”

A practical guide to health caring

Sheelagh Donovan works in the Information and Advice Department at Age UK, writing health information for our publications and website. Sheelagh talks about a new guide on caring that she recently worked on.

Caring can be a central part of many older people’s lives. For many who have partners and spouses, it can be an expected and valued part of ageing together, so much so that they may fail to see themselves as carers.

For others, it is a no less valuable part of a friendship. As many of us live longer, it is not unusual for people in their 50s and 60s to be caring for older parents while also supporting grandchildren or a disabled adult child. Continue reading “A practical guide to health caring”

Guest blog: What is the NHS Constitution?

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Yewande Ipaye from the NHS Constitution team at the Department of Health writes about promoting awareness of the NHS Constitution, and how it helps people to understand what they can expect from the NHS.

Recently I joined the NHS Constitution (NHSC) team at the Department of Health. Prior to joining the team, I had only heard about the existence of the NHS Constitution, despite being in the same Unit. Like many others, I had never seen it, let alone used it.

What is its purpose? Who is it aimed at? How can it actually help people? Continue reading “Guest blog: What is the NHS Constitution?”