Chief nurse: ‘Cut hospital beds to increase care at home’


Cutting hospital beds and using the money for care at home could mean better treatment for patients, according to NHS England’s chief nursing officer.

Prof Jane Cummings writes in the Daily Telegraph that freeing up the money put into “old and expensive buildings” is one way the health service can improve.

Staying in hospital too long can often make patients more ill, she claims.

The Patients’ Association said social care and the NHS needed to integrate.

Prof Cummings said “outdated models of care” needed to change.

‘Personalised care’

The article is in response to a review set up by the NHS which split England into 44 areas, ordering local managers and councils to come up with sustainability and transformation plans to improve efficiency.

Describing an NHS organisation in Devon, Prof Cummings said: “[It] wants to invest in home-based care, but it struggles because resources are currently tied up in hospital beds.”

“Many patients stay in those beds for too long, because home care is not available, often becoming more ill as a result.

“And more people can be better looked after, with care personalised to their needs.”

‘Great strides’

Dr Mike Smith, a Patients’ Association trustee, said figures showed that patients recover more quickly if they are in a place they are happy with.

“In most cases, when they are not in need of acute services, this is in their own home,” he said.

“Quite often, out of hours and at weekends, the only way they can talk to a health care professional is to go to an A&E department and two out of five do not need to be there.”

He said the current system “had to change”, adding that NHS England was making “great strides” to integrate social care treatment.

‘Maximum value’

NHS England is estimated to spend about £820m a year treating older patients in hospital when they no longer need acute clinical care.

Prof Cummings said there would always be “vigorous debate” over how much money the government puts into the system.

She said the job of health professionals was to “squeeze the maximum value” from the budgets they were given.

“That means changing outdated models of care so that patients don’t fall into cracks between different parts of the system and ensuring that we provide care based around their needs, and not those of NHS organisations,” she said.

“Since 1948, the NHS has adapted itself constantly and it must continue to do so as the world and our health needs will continue to change.”







New friendships for older people with Contact the Elderly


The importance of social interaction for elderly adults

As you get older you might not have quite as many opportunities to socialise as you did when you were younger. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as mobility difficulties or general frailty. People who continue to maintain close friendships and/or find other ways to interact socially tend to live happier, healthier lives.

An active social life can reduce depression, lower blood pressure and potentially lower the effects of other cardiovascular problems.

With 10% of people over the age of 65 admitting to feeling chronically lonely, it is vital that friendships for older people are developed. Social activities and interaction basically prevent your brain from getting ‘rusty’. It is therefore important for elderly adults to keep their social connections strong. There are some great initiatives in the local community to stimulate and encourage social interaction.

One of these initiatives is set up by a charity called Contact the Elderly.

Contact the Elderly is the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling this loneliness and social isolation amongst older people, through regular face-to-face contact. Contact the Elderly organises monthly afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75 and over, who live alone. These tea parties offer a regular and vital friendship link every month.

photo credit: Contact the Elderly

One Sunday afternoon a month, volunteer drivers take their older guests to a volunteer host’s home where they join a small group for tea, talk and companionship. The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same and the groups are kept small so that everyone can join in and get to know each other.

Over time, the aim is that the connections and friendships made at the meetings turn into companionship. What a wonderful charity.

For more information about Contact the Elderly and/or a group near you, visit:

To see what everyone gets up to, or to find out more, visit their YouTube channel:



Raising Awareness of Dementia


September is World Alzheimer’s Month

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, with it accounting for 90% of cases. Did you know that around the world, someone is diagnosed with dementia every THREE seconds?

By 2050, an estimated 131 million people will be suffering with the disease.

That’s why we need to raise awareness of the disease; about its impact and how we can treat and prevent it.

Every year there is a theme.

The theme for this year is a campaign called Remember Me to encourage people to remember family, friends or loved ones who are living with dementia or who may have passed away after living with the disease.

To do this, you will need to submit a photo or message about that person. Alternatively, you can share your message or photo on social media using the hashtags #RememberMe or #WAM2016.

You can also raise general awareness of the disease by sharing the materials provided by Alzheimer’s Disease International.

What are the early warning signs of dementia?

  • General memory loss that affects every day life – such as completing simple or familiar tasks;
  • Misplacing items;
  • Confusion with days, time or locations;
  • Withdrawal from hobbies, work or other leisure activities;
  • Changes in mood and personality.

21st September is also World Alzheimer’s Day. Get involved with the conversations on social media by using the hashtag #WAM2016.


Independent Living – Accessories and Tips


Independent Living

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is how a client will be able to cope in their own home, despite the access to a live-carer, especially if they are finding it more difficult to be mobile.

The answer is (apart from assistance from your carer!): there are a plethora of accessories and aids available to help prolong independent living.

Independent living

If you are considering hiring a carer to help you at home with the harder tasks, but want an element of independence to your lifestyle, we’ve put together a list of what we believe are the most useful additions:

  • Handrails – for inside and outside to help guide you around your home;
  • Shower chair – to take the pressure off standing and to reduce the risk of falls;
  • Stair lift – if you find it hard to constantly be walking up and down;
  • Pillow lift – useful for those who need a boost to their upper body when getting out of bed;
  • Back supports – to use on various chairs around your house;
  • Ramps – to reduce the need for awkward steps when entering your home;
  • Rollators – to assist with walking without the need for a wheelchair;
  • Safety alarm – for alerting your carer if you have an accident.

Want to know more?

Do Ability has an extensive shopping site with reviews of the products on offer.

Age UK has a page dedicated solely to independent living products and services.