Health and Fitness

Overnight Hospital Stays For Older People Can Be Reduced By Almost 50 Percent

Research from the University of Kent has revealed that a new Department of Health-funded scheme for older people could almost halve overnight stays in hospital and cut accident and emergency attendances by nearly a third. The scheme, known as the Partnership for Older People Projects (POPP), was launched in 2005 and set up 29 local authority-led pilots, working with their health and voluntary sector partners, across England. The purpose of the pilots was to deliver and evaluate locally innovative approaches to help keep older people healthy, well and independent, and prevent or delay high-intensity or institutional care. The projects developed ranged from low-level services, such as lunch-clubs, to more formal preventive initiatives, such as hospital discharge and rapid-response services. Over a quarter of a million people (264, 637) used one or more of these services during the pilot phase. Due to the success of the pilots, POPP was launched nationally by Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham, on Monday 18 January.

Drowsiness, Staring, And Other Mental Lapses May Signal Alzheimer's Disease

Older people who have "mental lapses, " or times when their thinking seems disorganized or illogical or when they stare into space, may be more likely to have Alzheimer's disease than people who do not have these lapses, according to a study published in the January 19, 2010, print issue of Neurology® , the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. These mental lapses, also called cognitive fluctuations, are common in a type of dementia called dementia with Lewy bodies, but researchers previously did not know how frequently they occurred in people with Alzheimer's disease and, equally important, what effect fluctuations might have on their thinking abilities or assessment scores. The study involved 511 people with an average age of 78. Researchers interviewed the participant and a family member, evaluated the participants for dementia and tested their memory and thinking skills. People with three or four of the following symptoms met the criteria for having mental lapses: -- Feeling drowsy or lethargic all the time or several times per day despite getting enough sleep the night before -- Sleeping two or more hours before 7 p.

Age Concern And Help The Aged Comment On The Government's Response To The Consultation On Safeguarding Adults, UK

Following the Government's response to the consultation on safeguarding adults, Andrew Harrop, Head of Public Policy for Age Concern and Help the Aged, said: 'The abuse and neglect of older people is a disgrace to our society, but one which often goes unnoticed. Updating and strengthening the 'No Secrets' guidance will help improve the protection of vulnerable adults and bring a renewed focus to tackling this issue. 'Preventing and responding to abuse is a cross-cutting issue and proposals for a new inter-Ministerial board send a clear signal that all government departments will be expected to take action to combat abuse. 'At a local level Safeguarding Adults Boards, underpinned by legislation, should play a similar role and ensure that all agencies which can help stamp out abuse make a full contribution. 'Increasing awareness among professionals about how to identify and tackle abuse is vital and new guidance will ensure everyone is more vigilant and confident about when and how to take action to prevent the abuse of adults.

UF Gets Almost 15 Million In Federal Funds To Build Research Complex To Help Older Adults

The University of Florida's Institute on Aging has received close to $15 million from the National Institutes of Health to construct an almost 40, 000-square-foot complex for clinical and translational research. The building will bring together scientists from a range of scientific disciplines and enhance how aging research is carried out on the campus. "This is a unique opportunity to have basic science, clinical, epidemiology and health services researchers working under the same roof on a common goal - improving the health and independence of older adults, " said Marco Pahor, M.D., principal investigator of the grant and director of the UF Institute on Aging. The one-stop facility will make it easier for mobility-restricted older adults to take part in clinical trials, and strengthen connections among existing UF research centers, including the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the newly established Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research Program.

University Of Florida Gets Almost 15 Million In Federal Funds To Build Research Complex To Help Older Adults

The University of Florida's Institute on Aging has received close to $15 million from the National Institutes of Health to construct an almost 40, 000-square-foot complex for clinical and translational research. The building will bring together scientists from a range of scientific disciplines and enhance how aging research is carried out on the campus. "This is a unique opportunity to have basic science, clinical, epidemiology and health services researchers working under the same roof on a common goal - improving the health and independence of older adults, " said Marco Pahor, M.D., principal investigator of the grant and director of the UF Institute on Aging. The one-stop facility will make it easier for mobility-restricted older adults to take part in clinical trials, and strengthen connections among existing UF research centers, including the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the newly established Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research Program.

Consumers Over Age 50 Should Consider Steps To Cut Copper And Iron Intake

With scientific evidence linking high levels of copper and iron to Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and other age-related disorders, a new report in ACS' Chemical Research in Toxicology suggests specific steps that older consumers can take to avoid build up of unhealthy amounts of these metals in their bodies. "This story of copper and iron toxicity, which I think is reaching the level of public health significance, is virtually unknown to the general medical community, to say nothing of complete unawareness of the public, " George Brewer states in the report. The article points out that copper and iron are essential nutrients for life, with high levels actually beneficial to the reproductive health of younger people. After age 50, however, high levels of these metals can damage cells in ways that may contribute to a range of age-related diseases. "It seems clear that large segments of the population are at risk for toxicities from free copper and free iron, and to me, it seems clear that preventive steps should begin now.

Medicare, Consumers Face Challenges When Trying To Make Choices Based On Value

News outlets report on concerns about Medicare costs and the difficulties consumers face when trying to find value in their health services. Jacksonville Business Journal reports on concerns about proposals to base Medicare pay on rewarding quality and notes that variation in hospital performance often occurs because of the amount of charity cases, Medicaid and uninsured patients. "Rewarding high-quality, efficient hospitals with more Medicare dollars may be one of the most effective cost-control measures in health care reform legislation, which explains why moving to such a system is included in both the House and Senate bills. But the prospect of a shift toward paying for value has raised familiar questions about how it is measured, and concerns over who would be on the losing end if the new formula were to become law. At the center of the debate are the vast regional disparities in Medicare spending, and what are legitimate causes for the variations that may be unrelated to a provider's cost and efficiency" (Morrison, 1/19).

KHN Column: How Does U.S. Long-Term Care Stack Up Against The Rest Of The World?

In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Howard Gleckman writes: "The Washington Post recently ran a column arguing that the U.S. model for caring for the frail elderly and younger people with disabilities falls far short of the long-term care systems in France and the United Kingdom. There is no doubt the U.S. scheme is deeply flawed. But even as Congress struggles to reform long-term services and supports here, France is wrestling with its own system. And in Britain, long-term care is rapidly becoming a major political embarrassment for Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown" (Kaiser Health News). Read entire column. This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at kaiserhealthnews.org. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Minister Brady Presents Certificates To Ageing With Confidence Facilitators, Ireland

Aine Brady, T.D., Minister for Older People, will present certificates to facilitators who have successfully completed the Ageing with Confidence course which was commissioned by Galway City Partnership, Galway Rural Development and the Centre for Social Gerontology, National University of Ireland, Galway, in partnership with Age & Opportunity. Age & Opportunity is a national, not-for-profit, organisation that promotes opportunities for greater participation by older people in society through partnerships and collaborative programmes. The Ageing with Confidence Programme is a holistic approach to health promotion for older people. It aims to enhance their development by providing education for health, by developing life skills, and by promoting positive mental health and self-confidence, thereby leading to a better quality of life. The programme was developed by the HSE in partnership with Age & Opportunity and others, and has been delivered around the country since 2004. Speaking at the presentation, the Minister said "In this changed economic climate, all sections of society need to join together to share resources, skills, and knowledge, as we work to create a better society based on values and community.

Trial Of Vitamin D Supplementation To Reduce Falls In Nursing Care Facilities

Giving people living in nursing facilities vitamin D can reduce the rate of falls, according to a new Cochrane Review. This finding comes from a study of many different interventions used in different situations. In hospitals, multifactorial interventions and supervised exercise programs also showed benefit. Older people living in nursing facilities or who have been admitted to hospital are much more likely to suffer a fall than those living in the community. In these settings, falls fairly often result in head injuries and fractures, with rates of hip fracture more than ten times higher in nursing facilities than in the community. It is important to try to prevent falls to avoid unnecessary stress for older people and their families, and to reduce pressure on staff and resources. However, prevention is complicated as falls usually happen for several or many different reasons. "Many of the preventive measures used to avoid falls in older people are combined in what are called multifactorial interventions, so it can be very difficult to separate out the effects of all the different measures, " said lead researcher Ian Cameron, who is based at Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney in Ryde, Australia.

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