Today’s guest blog is from Professor Paul Abrams, Chair of the expert group on LUTS and highlights the issues that arise when continence isn’t given the prominence it deserves.
According to the Department of Health, incontinence is second only to dementia as a precipitating factor in care home admissions and affects nearly 2 in 3 in nursing homes.
Despite this, new analysis published by the expert group on lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) demonstrates that the majority of local authority commissioners do not view incontinence as a priority.
Continue reading “Guest blog: Uncovering the incontinence taboo in social care”
Two weeks ago, despite it being one of the first warm evenings of the year, a sizeable crowd gathered for the most recent in our series of Tavistock Square Debates tackling the big issues across health and care for older people. And this debate posed one of the toughest questions yet: “How do we make prevention real?”
Whether we are talking about preventing ill health in the first place or helping people stay well and manage a condition, we all agree prevention is better than cure. Likewise there is little argument that we should aim to prevent a crisis wherever possible.
However, in practice the case for investment and shifting resources ‘upstream’ is not always easy to make. In the light of the renewed emphasis on preventive approaches set out in the NHS Forward View and the Care Act, we asked our expert panel their views on what it would really take to break the cycle of short term targets and siloed budgets; to move from words to action.
Continue reading “How do we make prevention real?”
The need for integration in healthcare is very important and growing all the time.
Startling recent statistics show there are 2.6 million older people who live with multiple long term health conditions like diabetes, dementia and heart conditions. What’s more, over 65’s represent 60% of all hospital admissions, have longer average hospital stays than other age groups and are more likely to be readmitted within 28 days in an emergency.
It is against this backdrop that Age UK is expanding its Integrated Care Programme.
Our aim is to reduce the number of people with long-term conditions going into hospital through unplanned admissions, improve their health and wellbeing and ultimately deliver transformation to the whole system. Continue reading “Age UK’s Integrated Care Programme is making a difference”
This week’s blog from our General Election Series focuses on Age UK’s General Election Rally, which was held on Tuesday 24 March 2015.
Yesterday, Age UK held a General Election Rally event to give older people the opportunity hear from representatives from the five main political parties about their policies to make the UK ‘a great place to grow older’.
Although the media coverage over the last 24 hours has focused predominantly on the audience’s heckling of the Prime Minister, our first speaker, there was much more to the day. Continue reading “General Election Series: A rallying call for a great place to grow older”
The mild days of late autumn are barely gone, yet concerns about a looming winter crisis in the NHS are already hitting the headlines. With financial pressure growing, performance targets slipping and hospitals already overstretched, a political storm has hit Westminster and Whitehall. Could another cold snap tip the NHS over the edge?
A SLIPPERY SLOPE?
Winter pressures in the NHS happen every year, as a result of higher emergency admissions and increased numbers of people requiring hospital care (e.g. people with respiratory conditions or winter viruses). Most of those affected are older people, many of whom have higher care needs and can be more vulnerable to the cold.
Yet, despite anticipatory planning and the usual precautions, there are growing concerns that accident and emergency (A&E) services are heading inevitably towards a midwinter meltdown. NHS statistics have revealed that A&E performance in late autumn this year has been worse than in the depths of last winter.
On average over the past four weeks, just 93.5% of patients attending A&E in England were seen within four hours, with 23 trusts failing to reach 90% last week. By contrast, above 95% of patients were seen within the required timeframe last winter.
WHAT ABOUT PATIENT SAFETY?
The unprecedented demand on A&Es has serious implications for older people’s health and experience of care. The high levels of bed occupancy have led to people being held in ambulances outside the hospital or waiting on trolleys for many hours. This has also had a knock-on effect on other hospital services, with patients having their appointments and operations cancelled.
For the many older people who are lonely and isolated, or living with frailty or dementia, the inability of A&Es to respond to their needs can be disastrous. Due to a lack of appropriate support in the community, they are often forced to wait until they reach a crisis for a response and rely on emergency admissions for help. Arriving in a worse state of health, they are then faced with a fraught and overstretched urgent care centre or A&E. Continue reading “Is the NHS on the brink of a winter crisis?”
On the 23 October 2014, NHS England published its Five Year Forward View, a vision document for the future of the NHS.
The timing, and the timeline, is very deliberate: this is NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, setting his stall for next year’s general election.
Whichever party (or parties) form/s the next government will have to decide whether they take this vision on. And whether they are willing to pay for it.
This is a crucial point because Stevens has addressed the enduring taboo of money. Politicians are largely in a state of denial about the funding crisis facing the NHS, forecasted to be short by about £30 billion by 2020/21.
That’s just under a third of the annual budget of the NHS. Stevens is clear: if you want the NHS to continue providing a universal health care service, free at the point of delivery, you cannot escape the fact that more money will need to be found.
For a pre-election period, where more spending, even on the NHS, is avoided like the plague by political parties, this is the very definition of throwing down the gauntlet.
So what does the vision say? Continue reading “A vision for the NHS”
This week, we have a guest blog from Laura Stuart, Frailty Programme Manager at UCLPartners, a world-leading centre for research, healthcare and education.
Continue reading “Health and care: What matters most to older people?”