Tag Archives: elderly care

Personal Alarm Button to reduce bed-blocking crisis

Personal alarm button can reduce bed-blocking crisis in NHSLast month the Telegraph reported on “NHS bed-blocking rising 42% in a year”.

This “impacts on A&E as hospitals struggle to find beds for incoming patients. Days lost to delayed transfers of care totalled 193,680 in November. This is the third highest number on record, and 26 per cent higher than the figure for November 2015.

A personal Alarm Button helps.Tunstall alarm and personal alarm button

So this is where we assist. As Community Alarm providers we make a difference. Occupational Therapists can discharge elderly patients sooner knowing they have a personal alarm button to wear in their home. With their button worn around their neck or wrist, they are able to call for help. (See how the Contact Care Personal Alarm works.)

Thus the discharged patient is not ‘alone’ at home.

So, at Contact Care we endeavour to get our lifelines installed in the home promptly. We respond to the urgency, maybe that very day or the next morning. Therefore getting a patient safely discharged from hospital, contently back in their own home and another bed freed up.

Kat Navarro

Contact Care Personal Alarm Button, reducing Bed-Blocking

Prevent delayed Discharge home from hospital with a Personal Alarm.

elderly_patient_handsThe National Audit Office published its report in May this year. It focused on patients deemed as ‘medically fit for discharge’ but who are stranded in hospital.

Between 2013 and 2015, official delayed transfers of care rose 31%. Consequently, in 2015 delayed discharge accounted for 1.15 million bed days. Most noteworthy, 85% of these patients were aged over 65.

Elderly are more likely to be delayed in getting home from hospital:

Waiting for Social Care was the biggest cause of this sharp rise. Since 2010, waits for Home Care packages have doubled and waits for beds in nursing homes have also increased by 63%. This isn’t surprising given the increasing number of old, frail and medically complex hospital patients, coupled with 10% cuts in real-terms funding for social care over the past five years.

Lifeline Alarms to get you home from hospital:

I have not yet managed to find research quantifying how Lifeline Alarms reduce discharge delays. However, my  regular conversations with OT’s, Discharge Coordinators and patients support the fact. Having a lifeline alarm installed in an elderly patient’s home can get that patient discharged and home from hospital sooner.

We are often asked to install a lifeline ASAP, meeting a family member in the patient’s home to get the lifeline in place so they can come home from hospital later that day. The NNUH provide patients and their relatives with information on Pendant Alarms as part of preparing for discharge.

I have seen many people – tired, frail and leaning on an arm – yet so happy to be back home. Looking forward to a peaceful sleep in their own bed without bells buzzing and other patients calling out. It means so much to both the elderly patient and their relatives to have mum or dad back home and kept safe.

Kat Navarro

Contact Care Telecare Alarm, getting you home sooner

Christmas Gift ideas for your elderly parents this year

present-2Wondering what to get your elderly parents for Christmas? If they’ve already got enough scarves and warm socks and they’ve told you they really don’t need anything… try looking around their home from a different perspective and see if there’s not something you can DO for them.

Try donning a pair of imaginary glasses, not Rose-Tinted but a pair of Elderly Lenses, and put yourself in their shoes as you move around your parents’ home and garden. Here’s some pointers:

START AT THE ENTRANCE. If there’s a step to either the front or back door, is there a sturdy handrail? Are the steps even? Turn your attention to outside lights. Is there good lighting outside the door?

Then come inside the door, when mum or dad locks the door at night, is the key left in the lock? This will mean no-one can unlock the door from outside if your parent is inside and needs help. If not in the lock, are the keys nearby in case they have to get out quickly? A handy solution can be a simple hook (either in the nearby wall or a suction hook on the door) for the keys to hang on. And don’t forget the doormat – is it a trip hazard?

REDUCE SLIPS AND TRIPS. On the subject of mats, check all the mats and rugs around the house. Are they curling up and causing a trip hazard? Replace them. Do they need a rubber liner underneath to stop them slipping? Cast your eyes around for potential trip hazards – wires or objects on the floor and see if they can be moved. Then turn your attention to footwear. Sloppy slippers, open-backed slippers, worn-out slippers, big-fluffy-loose-fitting slippers should all go.

BRIGHTEN THE PLACE UP. Pay attention to lighting inside too. As they get older and eyesight deteriorates, your parents may benefit from more powerful overhead light fixtures, as well as task lights carefully placed near work surfaces such as kitchen counters. Make sure that the ambient lighting is glare-free and at a consistent level from one room to the next to avoid eye strain.

VISIT THE BATHROOM. Mum or Dad might say they really don’t need grab rails in the bathroom. But when they are there, you do just use them without giving it a thought. If you do slip in the bathroom you tend to go down with a bump. So avoid it. Non-slip mat? Bath seat? Raised toilet seat?

GET TECHNOLOGICAL. There is no need to be completely tech savvy, but there are some useful gadgets. Do they receive lots of cold calls making them get up to answer the phone all the time? These can be screened and blocked. How about a daily skype or facetime? Not only does it keep you in touch but you can also see how they are looking.

How dementia is diagnosed

MarblesA close friend has been diagnosed as being in the very early stages of dementia. She has a very supportive husband and family who noticed the brief moments of confusion and slight forgetfulness and prompted her to go to her GP.

Would we all do the same? In that situation, would I just pretend to myself everything was fine? Would I avoid making an appointment because I’d feel embarrassed, especially if a hyper-efficient receptionist asks me what is regarding. “Erm, I’m sort of, er, forgetting things?”

But the NHS advice is yes, go to your GP. The doctor will are able to do some simple tests then and there. They say:

“If you are forgetful, it doesn’t mean you have dementia. Memory problems can also be caused by depression, stress, drug side effects, or other health problems. It can be just as important to rule out these other problems or find ways to treat them. Your GP will be able to run through some simple checks and either reassure you, give you a diagnosis, or refer you to a specialist for further tests.

An early diagnosis gives you both the best chance to prepare and plan for the future, and receive any treatment. With treatment and support from healthcare professionals, family and friends, many people are able to lead active, fulfilling lives.”


Eyes on Diabetes – World Diabetes Day 14th November

diabetes-1Screening for type 2 diabetes is important to modify its course and reduce the risk of complications.

Diabetes is a huge and growing burden: 415 million adults were living with diabetes in 2015 and this number is expected to increase to around 642 million or one in ten adults by 2040.1

One in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed.1

Many people live with type 2 diabetes for a long period of time without being aware of their condition. By the time of diagnosis, diabetes complications may already be present.

Up to 70% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed by adopting healthier lifestyles, equivalent to up to 160 million cases by 2040.1

With increasing levels of poor nutrition and physical inactivity among children in many countries, type 2 diabetes in childhood has the potential to become a global public health issue leading to serious health outcomes.1

12% of total global expenditure on health is currently spent on adults with diabetes.1

In many countries diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation.

Yes, you can have your Little Red Button with you in the bath!

Woman stuck in bath for four days ‘saved by waitress’

This was the BBC headline on Monday. Jeremy Vine picked up the story on Tuesday on BBC Radio 2. After speaking live to the concerned waitress Sonia, and asking after Doreen, Jeremy went on to take some calls on the subject.
A lady from Sussex phoned in to say her mum had got stuck in the bath once. She explained how she had rung and rung through the morning but got no reply so asked one of her mum’s neighbours to let themselves in and check. “They found she had got stuck in the bath, couldn’t get out and was absolutely frozen and terrified.” The lady continued “Where was the lifeline? Of course she had taken it off because you are not supposed to wear it in the bath.”

Keep your little red button with you in the bath!

 And this is where I want to draw you attention – to that little red button and the bath. NO, the button does not like to be submerged in water for a long time but yes, it is showerproof. Which means it doesn’t mind a quick dunking in water. So if you are bathing, our advice is put your alarm button on the edge of the bath, right next to you. If it falls in, just fish it out again and it will be fine. If you are showering, you can wear it the whole time in the shower

It is designed to be with you through all your daily tasks in your home and garden. The button can be worn either around your neck or on a wrist strap. You choose, depending on which works best for you, and which is easiest for you to wear through the day. At night pop it by your bed, ready to put back on in the morning.little red button is showerproof

Kat Navarro

Contact Care: Little red button