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News roundup on ageing matters May 2021

Eldercare news

Guidance, research, alerts and good news for families with older friends and relations.

Updates on UK government guidance on care and coronavirus

With May 17th a key date in the easing of lockdown, there are continuing changes to guidance and updates around Covid-19.

NHS Test and Trace is making weekly COVID-19 testing available to all hospices in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Separate arrangements are in place for hospices in Scotland.

Guidance for social care staff, registered providers, local authorities and commissioners who support and deliver care to people in their own homes in England.

Provisional figures on deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), an investigation into wave 1 versus wave 2 within the care sector, in England and Wales.

Vaccinations for care home staff

Care homes face many challenges in keeping their residents physically, mentally and emotionally safe and well during the pandemic. One of those challenges is the poor take-up of offers of vaccination amongst care home staff. Health Minister Nadine Dorries has said that she would not support plans to force care home staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19. However, Matt Hancock is in favour or the proposal, arguing that staff have a duty of care towards their residents. Meanwhile a survey of home care staff has found that many health and social care workers who felt under pressure from their employers to have the jab were more likely to decline it. The debate is a subject for consultation currently, with a decision expected by July.

Rights for care home residents

The Joint Committee on Human Rights wants the rights of residents to have visitors enshrined in law. At least one care home manager has reservations that this would be helpful in situations where care homes are trying hard to manage visits according to the facilities and staff they have available.

GP face to face appointments restored

The Patients Association has welcomed the news that GP practices should be starting to offer face to face GP appointments for those that want them, while also providing the option for remote consultations. The Association has carried out a survey of predominantly older patients with long-term conditions, and found that nearly half found remote consultations to be less helpful than in-person appointments. Patients also struggled to make appointments during the pandemic, and many are worried that difficulties will continue into the future.

Social care review still on hold

It seems a review of our social care system in crisis has been kicked further down the playing field yet again. There have been promises of green and white papers for years now. Very disappointing that so little was said in the Queen’s speech about future plans. The disappointment has made headlines in media traditionally supportive of the government and from sector commentators.

Another reason to stay cool in hot weather

While we know it makes sense for older people to stay cool in hot weather, a new study suggests that taking a break from extreme heat, by taking a dip in the pool for example, appears to help human cells protect themselves from harm. Volunteers in a simulated heat wave showed that those who were able to take a cool break were better able to protect cell autophagy – the process by which cells destroy dangerous protein build- ups. With climate change raising the temperature, the report’s authors are keen to see evidence-based guidance for protecting older adults from extreme heat.

Managing chronic pain with a good read

Joining a book club could help to manage chronic pain, according to a new study. While CBT is often suggested to deal with long-term pain, shared reading can offer further benefits, say the researchers. People who took part in shared reading and discussion were able to go on to turn passive suffering into an experience they could articulate. CBT was helpful too, but only in managing emotions around the pain.

Many more could claim state pension

Astonishingly around a quarter of a million people over 70 don’t receive a state pension, though many might be able to make a successful claim. Reasons for not receiving the pension might include a conscious decision to defer it, a lack of qualifying national insurance contributions, or the receipt of other benefits that cancel out state pension entitlement. But those are only a small proportion of those not claiming a pension, and anyone who thinks they are not entitled should look again, say report authors, the consultancy LCP.

Car crash scams around the country

In our never-ending series of scam warnings, we’ve seen a focus on this week on the ‘crash for cash’ industry. The Insurance Fraud Bureau has identified more than 170,000 claims over the last two years where scammers have deliberately caused an accident so that they can make an insurance claim. Some of these staged accidents involve innocent members of the public. The experience is traumatic. The key piece of advice to everyone is to keep a good distance from the car in front, so they have less chance of slamming on the brakes to cause an accident. Always being alert to erratic driving and to vehicles already sporting accident damage. And if the driver or passenger jumps out with a claim form already half-completed, that’s a sign this could be a scam. Hotspots for the scams include Birmingham, Bradford, Walsall, Blackburn and Romford.

Managing social media when someone dies

Dying Matters Awareness Week has highlighted the worrying fact that nearly 90 per cent of people have not made any plans for their social media accounts to remain once they die – and over a third of people have confirmed that no-one, other than themselves, know the password to their mobile phones.

Exercise and mental health

Delighted to be quoted in a blog post on a supportive site about wellness at home. Exercise is so important for physical, mental and emotional health.

Photo by Gary Barnes from Pexels

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