Chris Subbe is a Consultant in Acute, Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine. He is a Service Improvement Fellow with the Health Foundation. He does research on patient safety at Bangor University. He tweets @csubbe
Unsurprisingly many of us have more medical needs as we get older. While some people manage to stay remarkably fit, for others it is getting more difficult to get around town or worse across country. The hike around an overflowing car park of an inner-city hospital does surprisingly little for mobility, and most people get little value from sitting in an outpatient waiting area to wait while their medical team is struggling with the application of queuing theory to healthcare.
A few years ago, when granddad was sent a follow-up appointment for his cardiac surgery several months after the operation, I was suspicious. I rang the secretary of the colleague who had done an amazing job on his heart to ask for the reason for the review. “An important part of quality assurance: we like to make sure that everything has gone well”. I explained that granddad had been in hospital, survived prolonged rehabilitation, and had already been followed up by an excellent local geriatrician and one of our brilliant cardiologists. He felt well. I suggested cancelling the appointment.Continue reading →
Zoe Harris cared for her husband at home before his dementia reached a stage where she was unable to cope, and he spent his final months in a care home. As a result of that experience, Zoe developed a range of communication tools to ensure that carers were aware of his needs and preferences, and which have subsequently been adopted by over 1,000 care homes and home care agencies. Her latest project is Mycarematters, an online platform where people, or someone on their behalf, can upload information to help hospital staff treat the whole person and not just their medical condition. @ZoeHarrisCCUK @Mycarematters@Care_Charts_UK
When I look back, I think Geoff had been showing signs of dementia for at least eight years before his diagnosis, and it was only a matter of months after he was finally told that he had what was probably a mix of Alzheimer’s Disease and Lewy Bodies, that his condition took a turn for the worse. I had to admit defeat and he moved first to a dementia assessment ward and, three months later, to a care home for what turned out to be the final 13 months of his life. Continue reading →
Most of the readers of this blog can look forward to a healthy and long(ish) life. The likely quality of that life is, of course, open to debate and depends on a number of factors. One of these factors is concerned with the accessibility and usability of many of the technologies through which we’ll be able to keep engaged (and, yes, that does include working into our older age). Another factor relates to our use of sometimes specialist technologies that can help us with our ailing bodies or minds. Continue reading →
Alex Greenwood is a recent graduate who’s been exposed to the realities of domiciliary care through her work with Konnektis, a hub digitizing social care and communication, facilitating better care for those in their own homes. She tweets @konnektis
Having lost my grandparents at an early age, I had very limited understanding of the realities of care. Through my work with Konnektis, and the inherently person-centred process of co-design, I am gaining privileged access to the outstanding work of carers. A commonly misunderstood and under-appreciated profession, carers have been absorbing the the pressures of our overstretched care system for years and the sector is now at breaking point. Whilst recent public concern over sustainability of care in the context of an aging population is an important debate, it is these inspiring carers – all too often overlooked – whose stories I wish to share in this space. Continue reading →
Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex @EstherClift
We are facing unprecedented times in the NHS. Those of us working from within, we know only too well that the demands and pressures mean we need to do things differently, in a cost efficient way, while safeguarding quality and standards of patient care. Digital technology has been heralded as the panacea for our situation, with telecare, telemedicine and telehealth offering viable alternatives to our reduced staffing, and pressured workloads. Digital is non judgmental and non discriminatory. Continue reading →
Frances Wong is a professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Our recent research has revealed very interesting findings about the power of a telephone call as compared to home visits for post-discharged patients. Patients are discharged from the hospital as soon as the immediate problems are resolved. Some care issues only emerge when the patients return home. The issues usually involve patients’ confidence and ability for self-care, symptom management, adherence to medication regimen and so on. If these concerns are not addressed properly, the patients will present themselves to the hospitals again. Like a revolving door syndrome, patients returning to the community come back to the hospital within a short time. The mean readmission rate within 28 days after discharge is 15% and the rate can escalate to 35% for the chronically ill patients. Continue reading →
Target Audience: Junior Doctors, GPs, Allied health Professionals, Medical Students, Hospital Doctors
Test Drive: The delirium and dementia app is one of the few clinical apps that have been designed with the UK-NHS inspired approach towards managing the confused patient. Based upon the latest NICE guidelines of their respective subject matter, the app makes a decent stab at tackling what many junior doctors find to be a tricky issue. Continue reading →
Chief Executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust; Bridget Fletcher discusses how this Yorkshire Hospital is delivering unique, new and bespoke video consultation services to support patients in their own home and preventing unnecessary admissions to ED and inpatient beds.
Overburdened A&E departments and hospital wards full to capacity are almost daily news items currently. It is likely that the individual human stories behind those news items involve very many people over the age of 65 living with one or more long term conditions. In fact statisticians tell us around 70% of our NHS resources in general are spent caring for patients living with long term conditions, much of which is re-active care rather than proactive. Continue reading →
Social media is the term used for online platforms which enable people to consume information as well as produce their own content – from 140 character updates on Twitter through to sharing photos on Instagram, and much more besides. Whether we use social networks or not, they are increasingly incorporated into day to day life, and not just for younger people: Age UK report that the number of 55-64 year old internet users creating a social network profile rose by almost half last year, and many use social networking to keep in touch with family and friends and to reduce social isolation. Continue reading →
Mark S. Hawley is Professor of Health Services Research, University of Sheffield.
Stuart G. Parker is Wm Leech Professor of Geriatric Medicine, Newcastle University.
Telecare and telehealth are being championed as important components in the response to the needs of an ageing population. What happens when you ‘open the black box’ and take a look inside? A review of a large scale piece of research suggests the answer might not be as clear cut as we might like. Continue reading →