STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

They’re not bed blockers, just older people who want to get home

The NHS is faced with a rising tide of demand for care combined with a tight rein on both NHS and social care finances. The impact of these pressures is seen across the health and care system. It manifests itself obviously in delayed transfers out of hospitals.

Year on year these delays are rising, with more people staying in hospital when they don’t need to be there. It has an impact on the care of some of the frailest and most vulnerable people and is the subject of continued attention from the media, healthcare regulators and politicians. When media and commentators discuss this issue it’s only a matter of time before a certain horrible term is used – “bed blocker”.

The phrase “blocked bed” originated in the UK in the late 50s, driven by hospital clinicians’ concerns about a lack of beds. Its use grew between 1961 and 1967, when the elderly population increased by 14% while bed numbers remained static. In 1986 “bed blocking” made its first appearance in a British Medical Journal headline. Although it was not accepted as a medical term, by the 90s it was being widely used by health economists as a marker of inefficiency.

Click on the link to read more

goo.gl/kT9uSf

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Filed under: Elderly, , ,

Horrifying Photos Show What Nursing Staff’s Alleged Neglect Did To Elderly Woman’s Body

Warning: Some of the following photos are disturbing

What this woman found out about the care her mom was receiving at a nursing home prompted her to take unusual action and may serve as a cautionary tale for anyone considering putting their parents or grandparents in such a facility.

Anahita Behrooz says she was with her mother nearly every day. She and her kids would take turns loving on her “mum” who “bed bound”. When her mother developed a uterine tract infection, she was sent to the hospital. But then national health doctors sent her to a nursing home. It proved to be a huge mistake.

Click on the link to read more

Horrifying Photos Show What Nursing Staff’s Alleged Neglect Did To Elderly Woman’s Body

Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, , ,

Shocking video captures two care home workers taunting dementia sufferers by torturing the ‘comfort dolls’ they believe are real babies

  • Dementia patients at Ashbourne House care home are given therapy dolls
  • Some vulnerable residents come to see the toys as their own real children
  • Shocking video shows nurses taunting residents by torturing their dolls
  • Two members of staff have been suspended pending an investigation 

Carers have been suspended amid claims they taunted vulnerable dementia patients by torturing the ‘comfort dolls’ they believe are real babies in a series of sick pranks. Sickening video footage shot at Ashbourne House nursing home in Middleton, Greater Manchester, appears to show a member of staff throwing the doll to the floor, distressing its elderly owner. And photographs show the dolls being hanged, put in a tumble dryer and apparently being cooked in a saucepan on a hob.

Another photograph shows an elderly woman appearing distressed as her doll is snatched out of her hands, while there are also images of a doll face down in a fish tank.  A source claims that one picture, showing the doll hung with rope around the neck outside a resident’s bedroom window, was taken as the pensioner was sleeping after staff barged in and put the light on.

It is thought that the pictures and video were taken and shared among some members of staff via WhatsApp.  Two members of staff have been suspended pending an investigation.

Click on the link to read and see more of this evil

http://goo.gl/yuoNAc

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Filed under: Care Homes, , ,

David Cameron ‘must take bold action to tackle NHS and social care pressures’

Leading charities have called on David Cameron to take “bold” action to tackle the growing pressures on health and social care, warning that vulnerable elderly and disabled people will “bear the brunt” if he fails.

A letter backed by nearly 40 organisations, including older people’s charity Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie, urges the Prime Minister to set up an independent commission to review the system. It warns there is ” no room for complacency” and points to official figures that suggest nearly a quarter of the population will be over the age of 65 in just over 20 years’ time.

The letter states: “We need to ensure we have an NHS and social care system that is fit for purpose otherwise it is the elderly, disabled people and their carers who will bear the brunt of inaction. ” Bold long term thinking is required about the size, shape and scope of services we want the NHS and social care to provide – and an honest debate about how much as a society we are prepared to pay for them. “It is vital that you meet the challenge posed by an ageing society, and an underfunded care system, head on and establish a cross-party commission to review the future of health and social care in England.”

It comes after former health minister Norman Lamb warned some experts believe there will be a £30 billion “gap” in NHS funding by 2020 despite the Government already committing extra cash.

 

Click on the link to read more

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-3391237/David-Cameron-bold-action-tackle-NHS-social-care-pressures.html

Prime Minister David Cameron has been warned about the pressures facing the NHS

Prime Minister David Cameron has been warned about the pressures facing the NHS

Filed under: Disabilities, Elderly, , ,

Pensioners to be charged £26 ‘falling fee’ to be helped back to their feet by local council

A district council said it would introduce the fee on top of the existing cost of a subscription to its service for elderly people who require home care

Pensioners who need help being helped back to their feet after a fall at home will be charged £26 by their local council. Tendring District Council said it would introduce the fee as part of its Careline service for elderly people who require home care.

An elderly rights campaign group has described the charge as “shocking” and equivalent to a ‘falling fine’. The £25.92 annual charge means a carer will come to pick an elderly resident up after a fall. If it is not paid, in addition to the existing £21.60-a-month Careline fee, then an ambulance would need to be called.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pensioners-charged-26-falling-fee-7033931

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Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, ,

Biggest NHS ‘market’ deal to date collapses – what now?

A highly controversial new style of contract for nearly a billion pounds worth of older people’s healthcare in the East of England has collapsed – but will anyone learn the right lessons? 

One of the largest NHS ‘market’ contracts to date collapsed this month. The£800million (originally £1 billion) deal to provide NHS care for older people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough failed after only 8 months, deemed “financially unsustainable”.

So what does this mean for the future of health care in the region? And for the government’s preferred – and expensive – approach to offering up NHS contracts? Back in 2013 Cambridgeshire NHS bosses created the largest potential privatisation to date. They claimed that only by offering all older people’s healthcare to private sector bidders, could they deliver the ‘innovative’ services needed, ‘joined up’ with social care.

The controversial contract – delivered through the largely untested model of ‘outcome based contracting’ – included bold promises to reduce nearby hospital admissions by 20%.

As private firms like Virgin, Care UK and UnitedHealth submitted bids, a huge public backlash followed – including a successful legal challenge by local campaigners to find out more detail on the plans. Several private bidders including Capita, Circle, Serco and Interserve pulled out, citing ‘affordability concerns’.

A new NHS ‘Uniting Care Partnership’ (the local acute and mental health trusts) eventually took over, after a bidding process that cost the CCG over a million pounds (and cost the NHS hospitals that had to fight off the private health firms, considerably more). Predictably perhaps, the ‘Partnership’ has now found they couldn’t deliver the promised outcomes for the money on offer, either.

Click on the link to read more

https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/caroline-molloy/biggest-nhs-market-deal-to-date-collapses

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Filed under: Elderly, ,

Oxfordshire health watchdog reports ‘shocking cases’ dignity care report

“Shocking” cases of patients not being treated with dignity in care have been uncovered by a health watchdog.

Healthwatch Oxfordshire also highlights staff fears that “workforce pressures” are making it harder for them to deliver acceptable levels of care. Its report, written with Age UK, was based on 161 patients and 57 staff completing questionnaires, as well as six focus groups and 10 case studies. The majority of patients were still treated with dignity, the report added. Patients with communication difficulties and dementia were particularly unhappy with their care.

One patient, who had suffered a stroke, said she was left for hours in her own excrement. She said: “I was sedated and my health needs were neglected.” Another described finding her mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s, “soaked, dirty” and ignored by nurses.

Their report said that, in a small number of cases, their experiences were “shocking”.

‘Much can be improved’

A woman who suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, a condition which causes severe facial pain, said that while she was normally treated with respect, on one occasion she was called “unclean” by a staff member when she was in too much pain to wash. Healthwatch also found people were often reluctant to complain and did not always feel properly involved in decisions about their care. But 93% of patients who responded said they had been treated with dignity or respect “some of the time”, “most of the time” or “always”.

While patients were receiving “a high level of dignity in their care”, Healthwatch chief executive Rachel Coney said there was “still much that can be improved about how people are treated”. The report, written in partnership with charity Age UK, said the county’s care organisations have made commitments to improve. These include drawing up formal dignity standards, reviewing staff training, and involving patients more in decision making.

BBC News

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Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, ,

The Dementia Assistance Card

Who is behind this service? 

Caron Sprake. An award winning blogger, her blog www.caroncares.co.uk offers advice and information for anyone caring for the elderly.
Caron is a Purple Angel Ambassador working in the UK to raise awareness about Dementia.

The dementia assistance card provides a clear and concise way for someone with dementia to ask for help in shops, restaurants etc and shows the contact number of a relative or friend in the case of an emergency.  The Dementia Assistance Card

Click on the link below to create and print the assistance card

http://dementiaassistancecard.com/

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Filed under: Dementia, , ,

Care of vulnerable people ‘put in danger’

The dignity, heath and wellbeing of older people and those with disabilities in England are in danger, health and care groups warn.

In a joint submission to the Treasury ahead of November’s Spending Review, 20 organisations said the care sector was facing a “deepening crisis”. They have called for funding to councils to be protected, as is happening with the NHS. Ministers said investment in health would also benefit the care sector.

The government pointed out that plans were being put in place to ensure greater joint working between the two sectors that would relieve some of the pressures. However, the signatories of the submission, who include leaders of councils, the NHS, care providers and charities, said that they still feared for the future.

The document said that the market was “fragile” with councils forced to freeze fees and providers exiting the sector. The submission said this was driving up prices for those who fund themselves and leading to fewer people getting state-funded support. While the government has pledged an extra £8bn a year for the NHS by 2020, social care has received no such assurances.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34310729?SThisFB

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Filed under: Care Homes, Disabilities, Elderly, Hospital, , , ,

Revealed: Shocking NHS postcode lottery for elderly care

An NHS ‘atlas’ reveals the full extent of the postcode lottery in healthcare, with wide variations in the chance of being diagnosed with cancer early, or receiving emergency care which could have been avoided

Elderly people in some parts of the country are nine times more likely than in others to be admitted to hospital as emergency cases – for lack of the right care in their local communities. Charities said the new official figures are a “troubling” insight into a growing crisis in care of the elderly, with hundreds of thousands of pensioners being admitted to hospitals via casualty in cases which could have been avoided with the right help earlier.

The statistics also reveal a three-fold difference in the chance of cancer sufferers being diagnosed early enough to have a good chance of successful treatment, depending where they live. The figures, published by Public Health England, are among more than 100 measures assessed today in an “NHS atlas” exposing enormous variations in NHS care. They also show major disparities in dementia care, the chance of receiving stroke treatment quickly, or receiving treatment at all for a host of common health complaints such as cataracts.

Over 75s living in Canterbury were the most likely to be admitted to hospital as an emergency for a stay of less than 24 hours, with 11,000 cases per 100,000 population.

Click on the link to read more and view the NHS Atlas

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/elder/11872521/Revealed-Shocking-NHS-postcode-lottery-for-elderly-care.html

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Filed under: Dementia, Elderly, NHS, ,

Visit “Your Voice Matters” Whistleblower Section to find out the story behind this amazing song

My name is Adeline Dalley, I was once a Senior Carer who specialised in Palliative Care, I loved my job more than anything.  After one day turning whistle blower to protect the war Hero, Sir Douglas Baders Wife all would swiftly change. So what did I do next?

 Write my book – Behind Those Care Home Doors

 Co-write the song on here called Behind Closed Doors

 Why – Because the neglect/ abuse and corrupt behaviours at the expense of our vulnerable elders continues every day.  After seeing new management walk into a new job and no action taken (She refused to let me call an ambulance for Lady Bader who I had notice suffered a stroke, saying it could wait until Monday and see a GP).

Click on ‘Your Voice Matters’ link to read more

http://www.yourvoicematters.org.uk/#!story-of-a-whistleblower/e8qu6

 

Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, Whistleblowing, , ,

94-year-old humiliated by care staff as she begged for their help

A daughter recorded care home workers humiliating her mum as she begged for help.

The staff members were caught out when a secret tape recorded them giving a slow round of applause to distressed Doreen MacIntyre, 94, after she asked for “a hand”. The shocking treatment was captured on a secret recording device hidden by concerned daughter Blan Bremner.

The 16-hour tape revealed two members of staff persistently behaving inappropriately in front of Doreen. The carers were suspended and later resigned as a result of the incident, but Blan – who felt “physically sick” after listening to the tape – is calling for further action against those responsible. “They were sarcastic, vindictive and showed no respect to her,” she said. “I burst into tears listening to it.”

Click on the link to read more

http://www.sundaypost.com/that-s-life/your-health/94-year-old-humiliated-by-care-staff-as-she-begged-for-their-help-1.885700

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Doreen MacIntyre

Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, , , ,

“‘About me’ puts a person at the heart of patient-centred care” by Liz Charalambous for NursingTimes.Net

A brilliant article from a nurse taking the time to really care

I took handover at the start of my shift recently. I received detailed information about care plans, the patient’s vital signs, urine output, blood glucose, early warning scores, Braden scale, MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool), falls and visual infusion phlebitis score were.

I was then presented with a form to sign for me to take responsibility and accountability for the patient. But there was no mention of the patient’s likes and dislikes, no details of a possible safeguarding issue, and no elaboration on her worries about the possibility of having her dog taken away as she may be unable to manage at home, and face residential home placement.

We are inundated with paperwork – of that there is no question. But the single most important piece of paperwork in my view as far as person-centred care is concerned, is the “about me” form. It is an ingenious document, cleverly crafted to ensure that the team are aware of a person’s preferences, likes and dislikes and their personal history while in hospital.

Click on the link to read more

About me puts a person at the heart of patient centred-care

Liz Charalambous is staff nurse, healthcare of the older person acute medicine, at Nottingham University Hospital’s Trust

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Filed under: Elderly, NHS, , ,

Family haunted by memory of mum being left to die on hospital trolley

THE family of cancer victim Lily Smith say they will never forgive the NHS after she spent 12 hours of the last day of her life on a hospital trolley.

The 83-year-old great grandmother’s final wish was to be allowed to die in peace at her Newstead home after she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer last December. But an ambulance was called when she suddenly took a turn for the worse after contracting pneumonia. Lily then spent nine hours in a corridor at the Royal Stoke University Hospital’s A&E before spending a further three hours on a trolley at the Medical Assessment Unit.

She passed away just three hours after finally being placed on the Clinical Decision Unit on March 25. Now her devastated relatives have questioned why more was not done to make their dying mother’s last hours more comfortable. One of her four surviving children, Ian Smith, said he will always regret dialling 999 when his mother started to have difficulties breathing.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Family-haunted-memory-mum-left-die-hospital/story-26459356-detail/story.html

Family collect of Lily Smith who died at The Royal Stoke Hospital

Lily Smith

 

Filed under: A&E, Elderly, NHS, NHS Blunders, , ,

Living to 100: not all it’s cracked up to be, especially if we don’t rethink our approach to old age

It’s never easy broaching the subject of our own mortality, but I certainly wouldn’t want to live for a century, says Judith Woods

Hands up who wants to live to 100? Me neither. Don’t get me wrong, I fully intend to live forever, but a century just sounds such an effort.

In recent days we’ve been told by Austrian researchers that old age doesn’t officially begin until 74. We’ve also learned the “secret” to becoming a centenarian: no smoking, low cholesterol levels and coffee in moderation. And UK-based anti-ageing specialist Dr Alex Zhavoronkov has revealed his infallible plan to live to 150 by taking 100 drugs and supplements a day and avoiding stress. How great is that?

Not great at all, I’d say. The fact he views as “stress” the things most of us regard as the best bits of life – marriage, children, buying lovely shiny consumer durables – brings to mind the hoary old saw that he might not live a century and a half but time will drag so slowly it will certainly feel like it.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11576382/Living-to-100-not-all-its-cracked-up-to-be-especially-if-we-dont-rethink-our-approach-to-old-age.html

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Filed under: Elderly, ,

Frank Foster – Campaign for dignity in death – Please sign petition

Frank Fowler 1920 – 2014. Frank was diagnosed with brain cancer and was deaf and blind and was receiving treatment at Pembury, Tunbridge Wells. In his final days Frank suffered unbearable pain but was left to suffer throughout his painful last moments. His was not a dignified death and one that no ones loved ones should have to endure. Please support the campaign to have Dignity in Death debated in the Houses of Parliament.

Sign the petition and please share this video. Joanne Fowler is the daughter of Frank and is campaigning for Dignity in Death to be heard in Parliament.

The petition can be signed at http://fb.me/6uo9GARXZ

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Filed under: Elderly, Hospital, NHS, , , ,

102 year old Dancer Sees Herself on Film for the First Time. “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

I just had to post this film. It shows Alice Barker 102 years in her youth.

 This is why it’s so important to look beyond the aging years and know that in the minds of our elders they had a life, they are still young, just trapped in an aging body. Joanna 

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David Shuff owns a therapy dog, which is how he met Alice Barker, age 102. Barker had been a well-known and successful dancer in the her day, and performed with some of the biggest names of stage and screen. I guess, however, she was just one of those people who didn’t like to see herself on screen. I can sympathize (because unlike Barker, I’m painful to watch). In the intervening decades, the physical recordings and other memorabilia of her time on stage was lost, including the films.

In addition to owning a therapy dog, David Shuff works with Mark Cantor for Jazz on Film, and together they tracked down footage of Barker. This is the first time she’s ever seen it. Shuff also noted that although he wishes so much of the video wasn’t him talking, it took a while to get Barker warmed up and talking about her memories, particularly when she wanted to just watch.

Alice Barker was a chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930s and 40s. She danced at clubs such as The Apollo, Cotton Club, and Zanzibar Club, with legends including Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

Please click on the link to watch Alice Barker dancing, she was beautiful and still is.

Filed under: Elderly, Uncategorized, ,

Being ignored, neglected and forgotten. A powerful video from Age UK

This video really brings out the message, one day we will all be that much older but still the same person that took our first breath in life. This video should be compulsory for all nurses, doctors, and carers who work caring for the elderly to remember. Joanna

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See the contrast between the life Charles has now to the one he has lived. He’s being ignored, neglected and forgotten. Human rights give people the power to challenge poor care, and they apply to all of us, whatever our age.

Please share this film because people need to talk about human rights for older people.

Please click on the link to watch this powerful video

https://www.facebook.com/ageuk/videos/1004159362941871/

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Filed under: Care Homes, Dementia, Disabilities, Elderly, , , ,

Nurses call for post-reg specialist qualification in care of older people. By Nicola Merrifield, Nursing Times

“Neglected” care home nurses are failing to receive adequate preparation for the role and are unable to access the same career development opportunities as NHS nurses, according to a survey.

Around 70% of survey respondents said undergraduate pre-registration nurse education did not prepare the future workforce with the skills, knowledge, competencies and experience to deliver high quality care to older residents. This was despite the vast majority, 87%, of respondents – which included nurses, managers and community registrants working in care homes – reporting that a particular set of specialist competencies were required to do the job.

A post-registration specialist qualification for care of older people – including care home nursing – was suggested by many people taking part in the research project, which was carried out by academics at the University of York and funded by the Royal College of Nursing Foundation. Such a qualification would ensure the nursing care home workforce was “fit for purpose” and able to meet the increasingly complex care needs of residents, said the report on the study – called Supporting Nursing in Care Homes.

Click on the link below to read more

Nurses call for post reg specialist qualification in care of older people

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Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, , ,

Care home shamed into improving food after son posts pictures of ‘disgusting’ meals on Facebook

A man shamed a care home into serving better meals by showing thousands of people his pictures of “disgusting” food given to his 81-year-old mother.

Steve Ashton, 40, put a photo of the corned beef and jacket potato given to his mother Joan on Facebook and it was shared more than 129,000 times. He posted the photograph after the sheltered home refused to admit there was a problem with the quality of food served to residents. Care chiefs have since apologised for meals described as “worse than dog food”. They have now agreed to bring in changes to the food, which costs care residents £42 a week even if they are on holiday and not receiving meals. Mr Ashton said: “I am disgusted with the low-quality food that this facility is being allowed to serve. Don’t the elderly people in this place deserve to have good food that is catered for all? “It is my mission to get the food at this place changed and to get them serving high quality food and meets the needs of all its residents.”

He began his campaign after being told daily by his mother that she did not want to eat the food. His mother moved into Aneurin Bevan Court in Newport, South Wales, eight months ago and had been complaining almost daily about the quality of the food.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11545391/Care-home-shamed-into-improving-food-after-son-posts-pictures-of-disgusting-meals-on-Facebook.html

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One of the meals on offer at the care home

Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, , ,

Our account of the appalling lack of duty of care and the terrible death of our mother on unauthorised LCP, who died on 14 June 2013. By sisters Rosalind Brewer and Marilyn Ealy

All your stories, Strength in Numbers. Please read this in-depth shocking account written to the hospital complaining of the course of events which led to Rosalind Brewer and Marilyn Ealy’s mother’s death.

Dear Sir/Madam

We’re writing to you to make a complaint about the lack of care, attention, compassion, and appalling communications received from the staff at Frimley Park Hospital to both our Mother and ourselves, and the circumstances that led to our Mother’s recent death.

Before our Mother Mrs Gerda Ealy (who was 88) was admitted into Frimley Park Hospital, and before the media announced the abuse of the Liverpool Care Pathway, we already feared the outcome of our Mother’s admission into hospital. We also expressed our concerns to the ambulance drivers and staff at A&E.

Our Mother was not terminally ill, but was elderly and as a result of this we feel it underlines the fact that she was targeted by putting her on LCP in order to hasten her death.

Please continue to read by clicking on the PDF below. It will surely shock you. The family want justice.

OUR ACCOUNT – COMPLAINT OF THE LACK OF CARE OF OUR MOTHER WITHOUT NAME

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Filed under: Elderly, Hospital, NHS Blunders, Uncategorized, , , ,

End-of-life care for terminally ill ‘needs major overhaul’

The UK’s care system for dying patients with terminal illnesses is lacking and needs a major overhaul, says a damning new report.

According to London School of Economics researchers, more than 100,000 people a year who would benefit from palliative care are not getting it. Patients are being left without sufficient pain relief and respite. NHS England said it was committed to ensuring terminally-ill patients got the support and services they needed.

The report found inequalities in access to good care, with certain groups of patients more likely to miss out. With an ageing population and demand for care increasing, the problem looked set to worsen, it warned.

Those who currently miss out include:

  • the “oldest old” (aged 85 and over)
  • people living alone
  • people living in deprived areas
  • black, Asian and ethnic minority groups

Most palliative care goes to cancer patients, even though the diseases account for less than a third of deaths. Only a fifth of new referrals to specialist end-of-life services are for people with non-cancer diagnoses.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-32201594

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Filed under: Elderly, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

MPs call for better training to improve nurses’ end of life care skills, By Nicola Merrifield, Nursing Times

Nurses and other clinicians must receive tailored training to address the lack of confidence and skills they have in raising end of life issues with patients, a report by the Commons’ health select committee has said.

The MPs’ inquiry into end of life care found variation in the quality and practice of care given to people approaching the end of life – defined by the committee as those who appear likely to die within the next 12 months – within both hospital and community settings.

End of life care is unlikely to improve unless staff feel able to identify people who are close to dying and start conversations with them about where and how they would like to be cared for, said the MPs in their report. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/news/report-end-of-life-care/

Evidence submitted to the committee by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman stated that half of all its complaints around this type of care featured poor communication – including between clinicians and patients or the family, within clinical teams and between hospitals and community services.

Click on the link to read more

MPs call for better training to improve nurses’ end of life care skills

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Filed under: Elderly, Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

Fears over death wish databases that doctors say mean elderly could be left to die at home rather than saved at hospital

Do you think it’s a good idea to construct computer databases containing the details of how elderly people want to die in hospital or at home? 

Please fill in our one question survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dying

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A ‘worrying’ scheme to construct a series of computer databases containing the details of how every elderly person wants to die is being recommended by MPs.

They are pressing Ministers to push ahead with a universal system for recording people’s death wishes – despite fears people could be denied life-saving hospital treatment. Doctors or nurses would ask elderly patients where they want to die and whether they would prefer treatment to be withheld if all appears lost. Their wishes would then be added to databases to be shared with GPs, hospital staff and ambulance crews.  The Health Select Committee wants to reduce the number of dying patients being ferried to hospital for ‘unnecessary’ reasons. While around seven in 10 people say they want to die in their own homes, only two in 10 actually do. Too often, according to a report from the committee today, doctors carry information about where and how their patients want to die ‘in their heads’. Under the new system, if a patient has indicated they want to die at home, this information will be passed to paramedics called to an emergency.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2995242/Fears-death-wish-databases-doctors-say-mean-elderly-left-die-home-saved-hospital.html

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Filed under: Elderly, GP's, Hospital, NHS, , , ,

Elderly patients will get consultations with doctors via webcams to reduce pressure on A&E as part of £200 million NHS shake-up

The elderly will undergo consultations via webcams and patients will be offered GP appointments at weekends as part of an NHS shake-up. Simon Stevens, the health service’s chief executive, today announced a £200 million scheme aimed at providing better care for the most vulnerable patients so they don’t end up in hospital. Initially, it involves 29 local projects covering a total of five million patients which will all operate slightly differently depending on the needs of the population. But the hope is to gradually expand these nationwide with the overall aim of treating more patients at home – or at their GP – rather than in hospital. Mr Stevens said the problem with the set-up of the NHS at the moment is that it is too ‘fragmented’, meaning patients are passed ‘from pillar to post’ between the various hospital wards, outpatient clinic and their GP.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2988408/Elderly-patients-consultations-doctors-webcams-reduce-pressure-E-200-million-NHS-shake-up.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

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Filed under: Elderly, GP's, Hospital, NHS, , , ,

Spy camera captures ‘sickening’ treatment of Freda, 84, in care home

THIS is the shocking moment a great-grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is degraded by staff at her care home.

Widow Freda Jobson’s family used a camera hidden in a clock to capture footage after becoming concerned about bedsores on the 84-year-old’s body. High-quality footage shows Mrs Jobson, who herself spent 30 years as a carer, lying in bed at Keldgate Manor Residential Home in Beverley as carers:

– Ask her if she is a witch and whether she has ever practiced black magic.

– Mimic her groaning, caused by her dementia, while one is shown bent double laughing.

– Remove a bandage used to cover a bedsore on her elbow and wrap it around Mrs Jobson’s head while laughing at her.

Click on the link to read and watch the video to see how these unfeeling so called carers mimic 84 year old Freda

http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Spy-camera-captures-sickening-treatment-Freda-84/story-26126350-detail/story.html?

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Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, , ,

‘Families too scared to speak out about care home abuse’

A COUNCILLOR has said families are too frightened to speak out about widespread abuse in care homes in case their relatives are evicted.

East Riding Council’s health, care and wellbeing overview and scrutiny sub-committee heard about 100 referrals are made every month regarding physical and financial abuse and neglect of older people in the East Riding. About 70 per cent of the allegations relate to residential homes. Although the sub-committee was told the high number of care home referrals is likely to relate to the scrutiny care homes faced, Councillor Keith Moore said: “There is a huge amount of abuse going on in care homes. “Families are afraid if they report anything, their relative will be evicted or sent somewhere miles away where they can’t visit them.”

Click on the link to read more

http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Families-scared-speak-care-home-abuse-8211/story-26054409-detail/story.html

Thousands of complaints made about elderly care in England

5 Live investigates

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31557790

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Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, , , ,

‘All care homes should have CCTV’, says woman who used £120 covert camera to capture shocking footage showing nurse abusing and taunting her 92-year-old mother-in-law

We all remember these shocking photo’s what this poor lady went through.  Mrs Rees was moved to another care home in Stepney, Greater London, where she was happy. But she died in May last year. Still make my blood boil that this “did” and is “still” happening, Joanna

A woman who installed a £120 covert camera to capture shocking footage of a nurse abusing her 92-year-old mother-in-law has today welcomed new health care guidance into surveillance in care homes. The video below reveals the horrific treatment Bridie Rees suffered at the hands of the person employed to care for her. The 92-year-old was poked, prodded, abused and taunted by staff nurse Faderera Bello. She was subsequently jailed for four months after admitting a count of neglect at Snaresbrook Crown Court in June last year. Mrs Rees’s case makes a strong argument in favour of using surveillance cameras to keep a check on elderly relatives in care homes.

And today the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, has published new guidance – a step in the right direction, Mrs Rees’s family told MailOnline.  Irene Rees, who is married to Bridie’s son William, urged other family’s to use CCTV to keep an eye on their relatives, adding the practice could also protect staff facing accusations. ‘This is a step in the right direction,’ Mrs Rees told MailOnline. ‘But we need to see it taken a  step further. ‘Care homes should be offering families the option of CCTV. I would urge all families to use CCTV. ‘If we hadn’t installed the camera in Bridie’s room she would have continued to face that abuse.  ‘There is no other way to ensure are kept safe.’

Click on the link to read more

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2950728/All-care-homes-CCTV-says-woman-used-120-covert-camera-film-nurse-abusing-poking-taunting-92-year-old-mother-law.html

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Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, , , , ,

Caught red-handed: Carer filmed stealing money from pensioner’s purse in her own home

Sheryvone Brooks was recorded taking a purse belonging to 85-year-old Evelyn Nicholson from a kitchen drawer, removing £30 and pocketing the cash. Bosses at Gateway Health and Social Care Dudley had put in the camera after Mrs Nicholson’s family became concerned about money going missing, Dudley Magistrates Court heard.

Brooks, aged 19, of Foxmeadow Close, Sedgley, had been one of her victim’s primary carers for around six months. She pleaded guilty to a count of theft. Magistrates committed her for sentence at Wolverhampton Crown Court on March 18. The court heard the camera had been installed at Mrs Nicholson’s address in Stourbridge. Brooks was recorded stealing the money on January 6 this year. Miss Lynda Gudgeon, prosecuting, said the footage had been reviewed by the company.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2015/02/20/caught-red-handed-watch-as-carer-steals-money-from-pensioners-purse-in-own-home/?utm_source=Newsletter+contacts&utm_campaign=febe1b85e9-Express_Star_Daily_Newsletter1_6_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_14ec17c24a-febe1b85e9-241004973

Filed under: Elderly, , ,

Revealed: more than 500,000 home care visits last less than five minutes

Care minister Norman Lamb has called for a “fundamental” overhaul of home help services, after an investigation exposed more than half a million visits that lasted less than five minutes each. New figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show rising numbers of council checks on the elderly and disabled are taking place in a matter of minutes. Charities have raised fears that vulnerable pensioners are being neglected and are being forced to choose between being washed or fed. Ministers have repeatedly pledged to crack down on the scandal of “clock-watch care” by services contracted to councils provide visits of 15 minutes or less.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11302534/Revealed-more-than-500000-home-care-visits-last-less-than-five-minutes.html

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Filed under: Care Homes, , ,

Birmingham council accused of using ‘eBay-style’ auctions to decide on elderly care

Social services chiefs have been accused of removing the ‘humanity’ from the care home system by using an eBay-style auction to find places for the elderly. Care providers submitting the lowest price package ‘won’ the right to look after those needing help in more than nine out of ten cases. In the past, those requiring residential care would be referred by a social worker and taken to visit homes in their area until a suitable one was found.

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Care home bosses claim nine out of ten residents are handed to the lowest bidder under new online service

Click on link to read more

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/health/council-uses-ebay-style-auctions-decide-8612840?

Filed under: Care Homes, Uncategorized, ,

The NHS may have to support up to a million more elderly people within the next decade, new report reveals

A million more people aged over 50 will have a serious illness in a decade than do today, according to research published today. Around 3.1 million over 50s are living with serious illness in the UK – but this is likely to rise to four million in the next 10 years. If the current trend continues, the projected proportion of people living with serious illness could increase to a shocking 14.8% by 2025. This represents a potential crisis for Wales, where more than 18% were aged 65 and over at in the last census, the highest seen since they began. With demand for NHS services already under pressure, new analysis by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) predicts the NHS may have to support up to a million more elderly people with serious illnesses within the next ten years.

Click on link to read more

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/nhs-support-up-million-more-8603225?

Click on the PDF  Serious_illness_in_the_over_50s  to download Report

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Filed under: Elderly, NHS, , ,

‘Death test’ could predict chance of dying within 30 days

Health experts say a new test will prevent futile and expensive medical treatments which prolong suffering

 A test to determine if elderly patients will die within 30 days of being admitted to hospital has been developed by doctors to give them the chance to go home or say goodbye to loved ones. Health experts say the checklist will prevent futile and expensive medical treatments which merely prolong suffering. The screening test looks at 29 indicators of health, including age, frailty, illness, mental impairment, previous emergency admissions and heart rate and produces a percentage chance of death within one month and 12 weeks. Researchers say the aim of Critera for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate aLternative care, or CriSTAL for short, is to kick-start frank discussions about end of life care, and minimise the risk of invasive ineffective treatment.

“Delaying unavoidable death contributes to unsustainable and escalating healthcare costs, despite aggressive and expensive interventions,” said lead author Dr Magnolia Cardona-Morrel, a researcher at the University of New South Wales.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11363731/Death-test-could-predict-chance-of-dying-within-30-days.html#disqus_thread

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A death test which predicts if elderly people will die within 30 days could allow them to go home and say goodbye to family members Photo: Alamy

 

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Former nurse dies after extreme ambulance and A&E delays – Daughter says she would rather end life than grow old in the UK.

The daughter of a pensioner who died of pneumonia just days after being left for hours lying in agony on a cold floor because no ambulances were available to help has decried the state of the NHS, saying she would rather end life than grow old in the UK.

Helen Forde watched as her 92-year-old mother, Bridget Forde, drifted in and out of consciousness after suffering a fall and breaking her hip last month. Despite serious heart problems and being in severe pain, it took four 999 calls and a wait of more than five hours before an ambulance arrived. Her nearly-blind daughter, who was “unable to see if she’d turned blue”, said she was repeatedly told no help was available.

When paramedics eventually arrived at her home in Birchwood Avenue, Muswell Hill, they were said to be shocked at her condition. Mrs Forde was taken to the Whittington Hospital in Archway where she waited another 14 hours in A&E for a bed. What turned out to be a minor bone fracture ended with her dying of pneumonia six days later (on December 8) – something her daughter is convinced is the result of the slow ambulance response time and an NHS “in crisis”. She said: “The last memory I have of my mother is her lying on that floor in agony. It’s something I can’t forgive nor forget.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/health/former_nurse_dies_after_extreme_ambulance_and_a_e_delays_1_3908811

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Helen Forde holding a photo of her mother Bridget Forde

Filed under: A&E, Elderly, Uncategorized, , , ,

Hospital nurses drugged elderly patients for a quiet night

The son of a one patient raised the alarm over fears patients are given powerful sedatives to make sure ward staff aren’t bothered during the “graveyard shift” at the hospital. Detectives have handed a report to the CPS over criminal charges against nurses at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, South Wales, for allegedly giving sedatives to vulnerable patients without prescription or consent. The hospital is already at the centre of a major police investigation with five nurses charged with falsifying medical records and wilful neglect. Nurses drugging patients without prescription was revealed by a whistle-blowing nurse and has already been admitted in the case of 82-year-old Lillian Williams during a Protection of Vulnerable Adults investigation into her death. Her son Gareth Williams said he was told by nurses, before his mother’s death in August 2012, that elderly patients on her ward were being drugged with powerful sedatives Zopiclone and Temazepam.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk/Hospital-nurses-drugged-elderly-patients-quiet/story-24919169-detail/story.html?

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Norman Lamb has said the NHS must deliver “high quality personalised care” at the end of life.

The minister for care and support was speaking at the launch of Compassion in Dying’s project ‘My Life, My Decision’. Compassion in Dying is a national charity that supports people at the end of life to have what they consider to be a good death by providing information and support around their rights and choices. It is leading provider of free Advance Decisions in the UK and conducts and reviews research into rights and choices in end-of-life care. Lamb said the new Electronic Palliative Care Co-ordination Systems (EPaCCS) which is being rolled out across the country will transform the way people can record their end of life care choices, such as whether they want to be resuscitated. The new system will be used by 70% of Clinical Commissioning Groups by April, the minister said, but he wants the rollout to continue beyond that.

Electronic records of end of life care should stop “awful mistakes” where people have been treated against their wishes by NHS staff. The electronic records will allow a range of NHS professionals across the country to see what someone’s palliative care choices are.

Click on the link to read more

http://centrallobby.politicshome.com/latestnews/article-detail/newsarticle/digital-records-to-transform-end-of-life/?

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Tell us about your care – Care Quality Commission announces new partnership with The Silver Line

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is today marking the launch of a new partnership with The Silver Line helpline http://www.thesilverline.org.uk/ to help reach out to even more elderly people who are cared for in their homes and in residential care.  The partnership comes on the same day as The Silver Line celebrates its one-year anniversary as the national free, confidential 24/7 helpline offering information, friendship and advice for older people who may live alone. Since it began last November, The Silver Line has received 275,000 calls, with more than half the callers telling the helpline they had nobody else to talk to. Through CQC’s ‘tell us about your care’ partnership, anyone can share their concerns – and anonymously if preferred – if they feel they are not being listened to, or might not feel able to speak directly to those responsible for delivering safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led services that CQC expects.

Click on the link to read the News release

http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/tell-us-about-your-care-care-quality-commission-announces-new-partnership-silver-line?

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Lack of support after hospital doubles readmissions for older people – Read the report from the Royal Voluntary Service

The findings reveal in the last five years almost 200,000 people aged over 75 returned home from hospital without the support they needed to look after themselves (2), and thousands of readmissions could be prevented if they received more help at discharge. The report, assisted by The King’s Fund, marks the launch of a campaign Let’s End Going Home Alone, which sees the charity work in partnership with communities, local authorities and NHS Trusts to provide more volunteers in hospitals and support vulnerable older people in their homes following discharge from hospital. Increased longevity is putting pressure on health and social care – over the last ten years hospital admissions for those over 75 have been rising four times faster than ageing trends in the population (38% versus 10%) (3). The growth in hospital readmissions has been higher still, up by 86 per cent.

Within the report, Royal Voluntary Service has developed the Six Essentials it believes every older person should be entitled to experience when they leave hospital:

  1. Every older person should be told the plan for their return from the hospital
  2. Every person should be accompanied home before 10pm from hospital unless their preference is different
  3. Every older person needs to be able to collect their prescriptions and get to follow up appointments for a speedy recovery after a stay in hospital
  4. Every older person should come home from a hospital to a warm, well-lit house with someone asking how they are
  5. Every older person should know they’ll have help to get some shopping in and won’t have to sit hungry after a stay in a hospital
  6. Every older person should have a friendly face to turn to for help after a stay in hospital

Click on the link to read more

http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/news-and-events/news/lack-of-support-after-hospital-doubles-readmissions-for-older-people

Click on the PDF to download the Going Home Alone report

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Older people in care homes – Watch the ITV Wales program

Wales This Week speaks to those at the heart of the care sector in Wales, including those who have felt let down by the standard of care which is offered by homes in their area. Jill Edwards Thomas is one of the people interviewed on the shocking care her father had in a care home. Please watch

Please click on the link to watch

http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2014-11-11/catch-up-wales-this-week-age-old-problems/

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Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, Uncategorized, ,

Older patients at risk because drugs are tested on the young

There is an embarrassing secret at the heart of medicine.
When it comes to anyone much older than 65, doctors have little evidence to tell them what drug or treatment works.
As Marion McMurdo, professor of ageing and health at the University of Dundee, says: ‘Much of the NHS budget is spent on looking after older people, who often have several chronic diseases.
‘So you’d think that there would be a real effort to make sure that we have the best-quality evidence to treat them.But we don’t.
‘A typical trial of a cancer drug, for instance, involves people in their 50s whose only problem was cancer, and who were taking just that drug.

Click on the link to read more
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2748310/Older-patients-risk-drugs-tested-young.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490*

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Magnetic stimulation could help to restore memory

Elderly people who are losing their memory could be helped by using a magnetic field to stimulate part of their brain, a study has shown.
The effect lasts at least 24 hours after the stimulation is given, improving the ability of volunteers to remember words linked to photos of faces.
Scientists believe the discovery could lead to new treatments for loss of memory function caused by ageing, strokes, head injuries and early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Joel Voss, the lead researcher from Northwestern University in Chicago, said: “We show for the first time that you can specifically change memory functions of the brain in adults without surgery or drugs, which have not proven effective. This non-invasive stimulation has tremendous potential.”

Please click on the link to read more
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/magnetic-stimulation-could-help-to-restore-memory-9697938.html

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Nurses ‘stripped war hero, 93, of his dignity’ by leaving him naked and lying in his own urine days before he died

WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
Frank Foster was battling fatal brain tumour and admitted to hospital in May
Daughter says nurses at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Kent, ignored his cries
She said she found him ‘tearing his clothes off in agony’ on a soaked bed
So appalled she took pictures of him and lodged complaints with staff
Mr Foster, a solider in King’s Royal Rifle Cops, died six days later on June 13
He fought and was shot in the Battle of El Alamein in the Second World War
Hospital has launched an internal investigation into the care of Mr Foster

Click on the link to read more
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2700223/Nurses-stripped-war-hero-93-dignity-leaving-naked-lying-urine-days-died.html

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NHS ‘illegally denying over-65s vital operations if they live in the wrong place’

The NHS is illegally denying over-65s vital operations, a report warns.
And for older people to get what they are entitled to is becoming a postcode lottery.
The Royal College of Surgeons and charity Age UK found “significant” regional variation in access to surgery.
Breast cancer patients aged over 65 are 37 times more likely to have surgery if they live in Swale, Kent, than in East Staffordshire.
And the number of hip replacements per 10,000 over-65s varies from just 10.7 in Bradford to 112.7 in wealthy Newbury, Berks.

Click on the link to read more
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/revealed-best-worst-regions-over-65s-3801959

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Frail care patient, 97, ‘had excrement smeared on his nose by a nurse as punishment for being incontinent’

A frail 97-year-old care patient had human excrement smeared on his nose by a nurse who scolded him for being incontinent, a jury was told.
Care home worker Barbara Kowalska is accused of ranting at elderly cancer patient Albert Inggall, calling him ‘dirty and filthy’ before shouting at him: ‘If you do this again you’ll be eating s*** cake.’
The 34-year-old nurse, who was working at the BUPA-run Donnington Care Home, in Donnington, near Newbury, Berkshire denies a single count of the neglect of a person with mental incapacity.

Click on the link to read more
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2677370/Frail-care-patient-97-excrement-smeared-nose-punishment-nurse.html

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‘Britain’s worst care home’: Damning report into ‘harrowing neglect’ at £3,000-a-month home aims to stop ‘institutionalised abuse’ of the elderly

Serious Case Review has made 34 recommendations after examining failings at Orchid View care home in Copthorne, West Sussex
An inquest last October examined the deaths of 19 residents in total – all were found to have received ‘sub-optimal care’
But five residents, Wilfred Gardner, Enid Trodden, Jean Halfpenny, John Holmes and Margaret Tucker died of natural causes after suffering ‘neglect’
Lack of respect and dignity, poor nutrition and hydration, mismanagement of medication and a shortage of staff, found to be among the home’s failings
Call bells went unanswered, some were out of patients’ reach and the home was branded ‘an accident waiting to happen’, an inquest heard
The £3,000-a-month Southern Cross-run home was shut down in 2011 following an investigation by the Care Quality Commission
Calls for private care firms to be scrutinised along the same lines as NHS
Families called for public inquiry, branding Orchid View ‘the worst care home in the country disguised as the best’

Click on the link to read more
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2652709/Orchid-View-care-home-receive-damning-report-published-today.html

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Patients still being sent home at night

18,500 people over 75 discharged between 11pm and 6am in the past year
NHS England says the practice is unacceptable
Campaigners say hospitals are under pressure to discharge to free up beds

Please click on the link to read more

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2635714/Patients-sent-home-night-Hospitals-break-NHS-pledge-protect-frail-elderly.html

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Protecting Our Parents

I am in the prime of my life, and getting older each day as we all are. I’m trying to imagine myself at 80 years old plus. Who knows if I will have all my faculties. Will I be mobile? Will I still have my memory? Will I have to be dependent on others? Will I have a home? This program Protecting our Parents was just too painful for words as to what is happening to our elderly folk.

This BBC program which was shown on 1st May looks coolly and compassionately at issues (or not) that an ageing population raises for our care systems.

http://www.radiotimes.com/episode/cvvgd2/protecting-our-parents–series-1—3-nowhere-to-go

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Filed under: Care Homes, Hospital, ,

Shocking Report – Staff sacking and suspensions over poor elderly care

One staff member has been sacked and seven suspended from one of England’s largest care homes after an undercover probe by BBC Panorama found poor care.
The filming at the Old Deanery in Essex showed some residents being taunted, roughly handled and one was slapped.

Please click on the link to see and read more
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27128011

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Filed under: Care Homes, ,

Replay discussion of BBC documentary on social work with older people

I just watched the last 20 mins of this program as I did not know it was televised. It saddens me so much, as these lovely people (as in my own mother) had a life when in younger years. They were not born old, they had a life! Love, marriage, children etc. What do we do for the best when age and health fail them? My mother always said NEVER, NEVER put me in a home when I am old, and I never did. We have pride, our minds in some stay young (as in Betty), some are not so fortunate, and our bodies we are in become old, and tired. It’s so very sad, and unfortunately not all get the care and support from our own health system. I will be watching the next report next week.

Click on link to read
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2014/04/13/join-live-discussion-bbc-documentary-social-work-older-people/#.U1BS3vldWSq

Please read this poem which I posted about a year ago
https://joanna678s.wordpress.com/a-heart-rendering-poem-take-a-few-minutes-to-read-it-says-it-all/

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Too polite to make a fuss – Elderly NHS patients suffer in silence

In the news – Tens of thousands of elderly patients are enduring appalling NHS care because they are too frightened – or too polite – to complain.
They suffer in silence fearing even worse treatment if they dare to raise criticism, England’s health watchdog Dame Julie Mellor warned.

My mother never wanted to make a fuss, the nurses thought she was the perfect patient, I was the one that shouted. But it’s just not the elderly. I know of so many who in their words “Did not want to make a fuss” Too many people lay in fear in hospital, frightened to speak their minds, that’s why we are all fighting. The strong get stronger, but the weak get weaker.
If we can all do a little bit in any way we can, that’s massive support. Strength In Numbers

Click on link to read
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2598355/Too-polite-make-fuss-Elderly-NHS-patients-suffer-silence-say-health-watchdog.html

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Alone in hospital, what does it take to give a reassuring touch

I accompanied my friend today at The Royal Free Hospital for her Cancer treatment in the Oncology department. Her appointment was for 12.00, but unfortunately because they were so short staffed, she did not receive her treatment until 3.00. Its not the nurses fault, but shortness of nurses due to holidays, sickness, and with no replacements, they cannot tear themselves in two. Consequently, one poor Malaysian elderly lady having a blood transfusion was on her own, confused, shouting, and in pain. The nurses were having to deal with other cancer patients who needed constant care, and could not give her the attention she deserved.
This lady should not have had to be on her own, I gave her water and some comfort. But what happened after I left?
How many more people on their own needing just a comforting touch? The management are to blame not organising the staff rota correctly. The same story will be all over the UK. How many other people on their own in hospital, no family, and no help, but what does it take for the staff to just give them a reassuring touch to help remove their fears, and put them at ease.

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I have published a 3rd edition to my book “THE LAST SIX MONTHS” Here is a snippet of the beginning

Introduction

The Last Six Months is a moving story about my mother Kay.
After going into hospital for a routine hip operation, and whilst still there, six months later she sadly died after a series of tragic events.

Years ago when we went into hospital, it never would have entered our minds that things could go wrong, we had total trust in the hands of the people that were healing us.
Nowadays, that is not the case, as frequently we hear about mistakes, and malpractice within our hospitals.

I have a blog which has given people a voice to write down their own experiences, some of which have also been published in this book
I hope that after reading The Last Six Months you will see the importance of writing everything down when going into hospital.

Notwithstanding, the majority of dedicated doctors, nurses, and hospital staff in our hospitals do a fantastic job in treating, and caring for the sick. But we also have the bad apples in our health care which tarnish the excellent work that they do.

I first started to write these notes purely as a reminder of all the things that happened to my mother throughout the first few weeks when she arrived in hospital for her operation.

Each day before I started work I would enter onto my computer all my notes from the previous day. I never thought that I would still be writing six months later. My notes have become an up-to-date diary of my mother and how her condition deteriorated during this terrible, and tragic course of events. It has also allowed me to capture all the memories of our time together, the laughs, the tears, the precious words spoken, and I captured it all.

I published my mother’s notes onto a blog, and then extracts of my mother’s story was published in the Mail on Sunday in June 2011.
I had no idea what would have happened next. I had over one thousand hits on my blog and emails of hundreds of people telling me of their own tragic stories. I knew then that writing my notes was for a reason.

I want to bring an awareness to everyone to write everything down when you or your loved one go into hospital, as it’s so easy to forget.

I hope from reading my mother’s story, and also the stories of 50 other’s (taken from my blog) you can see what is still happening in our hospitals, and it’s so important that these stories are shown.

I have two sisters both of whom underwent their own personal traumas, all of us suffered emotionally during the time our mother was in hospital. All three of us did as much as we could have. But these are my notes, my own personal account of my thoughts and feelings.

************

There are times in everyone’s life when something constructive is born
Out of Adversity
When things seem so bad that you’ve got to grab
your fate by the shoulders and shake it

Author Unknown

***********

Acknowledgments

Thank you

My two sisters, Camille, and Vanessa. Together we pulled each other through the last six months of our mother’s time in hospital.

My two sons Darren and Paul, my rocks, and my life.

Paul Callow. Without his foresight advising me to make notes, the last six months of my mother’s life would never have been documented.

Steven Katz. He took the stress out of those six months when I was going back and forth to hospital from work, and the amount of time I had off.

My very dear friends, Joceyne, Marsha, Jackie, and Jo, who kept me going, and kept me sane. Soul mates forever.

And finally to all you brave and wonderful people, who took the time to write to me about your own heartbreaking experiences. Your support and kind words gave me the inspiration to publish your stories on my blog, and in my book.

Together we can make a difference
Strength in Numbers

***********************

CHAPTER ONE

“The Day Before”

18th July 2007: One beautiful warm summer evening Mum took my two sisters and me out for dinner as she was going into hospital the following day for her hip operation. She had her favorite meal, minted lamb and roast potatoes with a glass of white wine, and was talking and laughing about how she would be able to run the marathon after her operation. She added that she was looking forward to being able to do all the things she used to do such as driving her car, going shopping and just being independent. Oh, how she hated having to rely on anyone! We had such a lovely time that night, unaware that this would be the last meal all four of us would have together.

My father Eddie died 13 years ago but mum was always a very independent lady. She had worked in retail sales all her life up until her early 70s and always took pride in her appearance. Smart, well groomed, attractive and even now at the age of 84 looked a good 10 years younger.
She always loved working but eventually had to stop because of her age, this was something which greatly upset her.

Mum had been in pain for about 18 months with her hip so she hardly went out anymore. She had a hip replacement operation nearly 20 years ago but she is now having problems again. In a hip replacement operation the damaged ball and socket are removed and they are replaced with an artificial ball and socket made of metal, plastic or ceramic. They say that hip replacements wear out eventually over a period of about 10 – 20 years.
Basically the ball now keeps on coming out of its socket and it has to be replaced. So mum will be having revision hip replacement surgery.

Every Saturday I used to take mum out shopping until she found it too painful to walk. Mum was also very frightened to walk in case she fell over as she had done so many times before.
I remember one day she had fallen down at her home, unfortunately she had refused to wear the personal alarm which I had arranged for her and she had been on the floor for hours on her own until I arrived after phoning her with no answer. She had locked the door from the inside with a chain so my son Paul had to break the door down. Oh how she wanted to get her independence back.

“In Hospital”

19th July: I took the day off work with the intention of driving mum to the hospital and arrived at her home about 10 in the morning. She had already packed her bag and had made sure that her home was looking spick and span as she would never leave it in a mess. Mum was quite nervous at the thought of the operation but she had undergone operations in the past and knew what to expect. She was not frightened of hospitals as unfortunately my father had been quite an ill man all through their married life. Mum had been used to going back and forth to hospitals over the years to visit him when he was not well. She learnt to drive when my sisters and I were very small which made it easier for her to travel to and from the hospital with us.

We arrived at the hospital about midday and made our way to the Orthopaedics Ward which looked quite dismal. The nurse came over to mum and asked her to get undressed and pop onto bed to wait for her consultant Mr Shah to arrive. We did not have to wait long for him to arrive and after introducing himself to me he went through the procedure of the operation.
Mum smiled and said, “I know I am in good hands.”

The Hip Operation

20th July: Mum’s hip operation was done today. Thank goodness it’s over. I could not wait till 5.30 when I finish at work to go and see mum as I work full time.
When my sisters and I arrived at the hospital mum was quite sleepy but seemed in good spirits. She told us that she had an x-ray soon after the operation and the doctors had been very pleased with how the operation had gone. The next days that followed mum’s progress seems quite slow and really not much news to report.

“Physiotherapy starting”

23rd July: Mum is being given physiotherapy but she seems to be in a lot of pain and now she is getting quite frustrated at her slow progress. My sisters and I make sure that we see her every day after work and bring her food and bottled water. Mum does not like the food in the hospital, nor would I, it reminds me of school dinners but that’s going back years and years ago. She has her mobile phone thank goodness so we speak often in the day, when I arrive I charge the phone so she can always be in contact with us.

“Quite concerned”

28th July: Thank goodness it’s Saturday, at least we won’t have to rush from work and we can be with mum all day. When I ask the nurses how mum is they say she is fine but I am becoming quite concerned as she doesn’t seem to be improving so I will speak to the doctor’s after the weekend. Mum is speaking to the other patients in the ward so at least it’s not too boring for her, but the magazines and books we have brought she has not looked at, she said she cannot put her mind on them.

“In Pain”

1st August: Mum has now been in hospital for just under two weeks. My manager Paul at work has suggested I write regularly in a diary so I can keep a check on how she is progressing each day. How clever and what a good idea.
I am very concerned as mum is being given physiotherapy regularly but she is in constant pain and cannot walk yet so she is being given painkillers, mum also seems quite breathless. I will speak to her consultant tomorrow.

“Spoken to the consultant”

2nd August: I have spoken to Mum’s consultant and told him how worried my sisters and I are about mum’s progress. I asked him why is she still in so much pain nearly two weeks after her operation. Surely she should be up and walking around. He did not have any answers for me and said that she was due to have a second x-ray this evening so we shall see what it reveals.

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