Let Participants Lead Workshop Activities!

“Sometimes we are led to believe that projects such as a ten minute theatre performance by amateur actors with dementia is successful, but this may not be the case as an unusual and sophisticated art project doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of the participants. There is a hidden danger in progressive projects which are sometimes designed to attract participants and promote the work of the company or facilitator organising them, and not to serve the needs of the participants. It’s a blessing that so many artists and organisations are using art in healthcare settings but most of the time there are no assessments of the individuals’ needs or an evaluation of these projects. We keep proving success by showing pictures with older people laughing while they are holding a puppet or a brush. If the camera lens is focused on a happy older lady doing yoga, then out of frame is likely to be an older man with advanced dementia, who is asleep on an armchair. Does this make this activity successful?”

Activities in care homes can have a huge impact upon the lives of older people, but we must make sure the workshops cater to the needs of the participants, not the performers! Eirini Dermitzaki explores how we can make sure care home activities best serve older Londoners.

Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Health and Social Care – Together at Last!

“The benefits of looking at an older person’s health and social care needs are clear. If an older person continually goes to the doctor with conditions that just don’t seem to improve, the doctor may not know that this person is having to make daily choices on heating their home or buying food. Similarly a social worker may find a client confused or unsteady on their feet, not knowing that the GP has changed their medication.”

Following the Cabinet Reshuffle, our CEO Paul Goulden analyses the new position of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and discusses the ways in which this could impact upon the lives of older Londoners.

red bag

The Red Bag Pathway – Improving Care Home Residents’ Visits to Hospital

“As a care home resident, it is highly likely there will be various visits and stays in hospital – in fact, a high proportion of all admissions and readmissions to hospitals are from residents in care homes. Care homes in South London have frequently expressed a need for better information sharing and communication between themselves and hospital teams during transfers of care into hospital. In many cases hospitals are unable to provide any information to care homes on residents’ care due to confidentiality and on discharge there is often a lack of information on changes to medication or care needs. Worse still, on many occasions, residents discover their belongings are often lost while in hospital.”

How can we smooth the transition from care home to hospital? Don Shenker of the Health Innovation Network South London investigates…


Why does Frailty Matter to all of us? What can we do About it?

Frailty is not a disease itself. It is a constellation of symptoms and signs characterised by a loss of physical reserve. It can be a consequence of a combination of acute and or chronic ill health, poor mobility, weight loss and social isolation.

Frailty matters to us all. This blog will describe what frailty is, what the consequences are, and what can be done to manage it and reduce its impact.

My Living Will

Dying Matters Week – My Living Will

The second week of May is Dying Matters Awareness Week, which aims to place the importance of talking about dying, death, and bereavement firmly on the national agenda. With that in mind, we asked David Metz to tell us more about My Living Will, a new website that provides guidance and advice about the right to receive or refuse medical treatment in later life.

National Dignity Council

National Dignity Council – Dignity Action Day

Dignity Action Day on 1st February 2017 started a month of events to promote dignity in everyday life as part an initiative by the National Dignity Council, a registered charity whose primary aim is to promote dignity across the board. The Council works actively to promote dignity in work settings and to challenge poor practice wherever they see it, by using the support of over 81,000 registered champions.

Find out all about the month’s events, including how you can get involved.

technology future's bright

Technology – The Future’s Bright… but for Whom?

I went to a breakfast briefing by Windsor Leadership Trust on the future impact of technology. The key speaker was Dr Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of The Economist and editor of a forth-coming book, “Megatech” looking at the world in 2050.

It was fascinating stuff, including his list of ten imagined companies who are going to be integral to our lives in the future – but what are the implications for older people?

Time to Talk – Older People and Mental Health

Yesterday marked the fourth national Time to Talk Day, a yearly initiative run by Time to Change which aims to break the silence surrounding mental health issues. In fact, since it first launched in 2014, Time to Talk Day has generated millions of conversations across the country, from homes, schools, and workplaces, to online networks and the media. Such conversations are important across all demographics, but as the Mental Health Foundation’s website states, “older people are more vulnerable to mental health problems.”

Attendance Allowance – A Vital Lifeline

Attendance Allowance is a weekly payment that allows disabled older people to meet some of the extra costs that they face. It is a lifeline for over a million older people, allowing many to go on living independently in their homes. Now the Government is proposing to devolve it to local Councils instead of distributing the money centrally as happens at the moment. It is part of a consultation on local government finance, following the decision to allow Councils to keep 100% of local business rates – link to consultation open till 26 September. This is worrying for more than […]

Andrews Salts or a Better Diet?

Care Minister Norman Lamb has announced that there is an urgent need to transform care in the home – highlighting the fact that, according to CQC, 25% of care is failing to meet basic standards. He’s right that this is an accident waiting to happen, but the solution is tricky. The economics of the problem are quite simple. Carers get the minimum wage or just above, and the margins for care agencies are very slim. Local authorities are under pressure from central government to cut costs and so will look to cheaper providers and also make requests such as half […]