A new milestone for improving dementia care in hospitals

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

Today, John’s Campaign is celebrating that all acute trusts in England have voluntarily signed up to the Campaign. In this blog, we celebrate what this means for people with dementia and their carers during a hospital stay. 

Admission to hospital can be an anxiety provoking experience for anyone. For someone with dementia it can be particularly frightening: surrounded by strange noises, smells, people, equipment and routines. It can be disorientating, disruptive and scary.

People with dementia often experience poorer outcomes and stay in hospital for longer, compared with the general population. For many, a stay in hospital results in the worsening of their dementia symptoms and they leave hospital less independent. 

Continue reading “A new milestone for improving dementia care in hospitals”

Getting it right for people with dementia in hospital

The care of older people with dementia is a critical issue for hospitals. An estimated 850,000 people in the UK live with dementia and it is thought that around a quarter of all people in hospital have dementia.

Prevalence of dementia increases with age, as does the average length of time people spend in hospital if they’re admitted.

This means getting care right for people with dementia should be a central component of good hospital services. For a number of years the National Audit of Dementia has been examining how well hospitals are doing at meeting the needs of people with dementia and their families and carers.

In this guest blog, Chloe Snowdon, Deputy Programme Manager of the Audit, explains what they are looking for and how you can get involved.

Continue reading “Getting it right for people with dementia in hospital”

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”

New rules to serve up better food for NHS patients and staff

Spaghetti bolognaiseIn this blog post, Dianne Jeffrey,  Chairman of Age UK and Chair of the Hospital Food Standards Panel, discusses the new mandatory food standards for the NHS.

Continue reading “New rules to serve up better food for NHS patients and staff”

Alcohol misuse amongst older people

Incidents of alcohol-related illness, hospital admissions and mental health disorders have all increased in the older population. Alcohol represents a growing problem for older people, their families and carers and for public services.

The data shows that:

  • It is estimated that over 1.4 million (or over 14 per cent) of older men and women in the UK drink over safe limits
  • People aged over 65+ report the highest rates of drinking alcohol 5 or more days per week
  • In England in 2012/13 there were more admissions to hospital of people aged 65+ for alcohol-related injuries and illness than of 16 to 24 year olds200x160_pint_of_beer_main

Many of the factors that can influence alcohol intake are magnified in later life and mainly stem from social isolation and loneliness, which can be triggered by factors such as a bereavement, retirement or redundancy. Continue reading “Alcohol misuse amongst older people”

Is it not normal to lose weight when you get older?

This blog was contributed by Margit Physant, Project Manager for the Malnutrition Task Force.

The Duchess of Windsor is reported to have said that you can never be too rich or too thin. I don’t know about the first but you can be too thin.

440x210_fruit-shoppingMalnutrition refers to low body weight and/or recent weight loss and it is still with us. It is far more common than most people think. It affects all ages, but older people are particularly at risk and more than a million people over the age of 65 are affected.

It is common but it is not a normal part of ageing and it has serious health consequences.  Malnourished people are more prone to infection and take longer to recover if they get ill. It causes misery to older people and their families and is costly to the health service. Continue reading “Is it not normal to lose weight when you get older?”

Guest blog – Strengthening the Care Bill

This blog was contributed by Baroness Sally Greengross, a crossbench member of the House of Lords. Baroness Greengross is seeking to amend the Care Bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords, on the issue of delayed discharge.

The Care Bill that is currently being debated in the House of Lords is a vital part of the changes that are necessary to reform social care in England, by clarifying and bringing up-to-date the legal framework of the care system. A key area that the Bill must address is the delay that those needing social care experience, while waiting for a package of support to be put in place to enable them to leave hospital.

Baroness Greengross
Baroness Greengross

Facing a stay on a hospital ward can be difficult for anyone but for an older person being admitted following a crisis, such as broken hip from a fall at home, it can be particularly upsetting and disruptive.

Recent statistics show that people who experience a delay in accessing social care, go on to wait much longer for a package of support to be put in place compared to when the Government came to power. Someone will now wait an average of 27 days in hospital before a social care package is put together to allow them to go home – 12.8 per cent longer. For those accessing residential care the average wait is 30.3 days. Continue reading “Guest blog – Strengthening the Care Bill”