The PPG has asked me to be Guest Editor, and as a newcomer from London (returning to where I grew up) I am delighted to do this. After the mega-surgeries we suffered in London, sometimes having to wait 5 weeks to see a doctor, the appointments system at Clifton Hampden is a delight.
New Phlebotomy Nurse
Understanding the importance of basic questions.
You may have to call 111 when it’s late, or at the weekend, and you can be asked what might seem silly questions Whilst waiting on the phone you are asked if you can feel yours/patient’s skin to see if they are cold/hot. Asked if there is unusual sweating, have you taken a temperature, etc. And yes, this is a tickbox exercise but goes onto a page which gives a paramedic a quick overall view. So whilst you are waiting, someone can already be assessing what you need.
One of the first things paramedics are taught is to look at their patients. That might seem basic, but you can learn much simply by paying attention to a person’s skin colour and moisture. Skin temperature is also important. The triad—skin colour, temperature, and moisture—is collectively known as the skin signs. In most emergency situations, the skin is one of the first organs to react to a dangerous condition. So bear with the questioning -it saves time at the end!
Podiatrists first told me about Flexitol cream. Developed in Australia for cancer patients who had cracked skin on their feet as a side effect of treatment, this cream is also NICE-approved. If you have rough or sore skin on your feet, and qualify, you can get this on free prescription. The Podiatrist at Wallingford hospital is keen that we protect our feet, particularly if you are elderly.
Hydro pools are used as a gentle exercise, especially for those with
- Orthopaedic rehabilitation including joint replacements
- balance issues
- Spinal disorders
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Neurological conditions
- Arthritic Conditions
- lasting effects from Polio
There are two excellent NHS pools in the area: at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and the other at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford. The private Circle Hospital in Reading also has an Aqua Treadmill. However, recent cuts mean that there is limited capacity at the NHS hospitals, so our MP, John Howell, has been asked to look into this to ensure that both pools stay open.
Hydro pools have to be kept at a temperature around 35°C; most gym and leisure pools are kept at too low a temperature so don’t provide the same benefits. Water is an excellent medium for return to function and mobility for rehabilitation. But although there are excellent leisure centres all over the area, sadly they may not be suitable for hydrotherapy. In a Hydro pool the temperature is kept several degrees warmer (around 33- 35º C) than a public pool – where the temperature can be 27 – 30 i.e too low.
If you are offered this therapy, grab it! It is very much more popular in Europe, where most doctors are keen for patients to benefit from this.
The Oxford Branch of the Royal Osteoporosis Society had a packed audience for its interesting Summer Meeting. Guest speaker Dr. K. Javaid cheerfully answered a multitude of questions, prompted by his extremely interesting talk on drug therapy. He talked us through the different drug therapies, and there seems to be a new energy in the NOC’s Rheumatology Dept.
Sarah Connacher, Specialist Osteoporosis Nurse at the NOC has obviously fought to get the best care possible for those with Osteoporosis, and has developed a thriving Facture Liaison Clinic. She has instigated a programme looking at ALL the current X-rays, not just for those where Osteoporosis has been highlighted; aiming to ‘catch’ those that might have slipped through the net as they have been taken for other purposes.
Until we leave the EU, UK citizens will still be able to take advantage of the EHIC agreement if taken ill abroad. This entitles NHS patients to reclaim certain medical costs – but not all). But you still have to insure yourself and your family for repatriation costs. This means if you are taken ill abroad and have to be flown home in an air ambulance, it is up to you to pay costs. EHIC cover does NOT pay for this. Age UK, Macmillan and other charities can advise on companies that provide insurance cover for this, but ask around as they can vary.
Wellness Day in Dorchester
In July 2018, the UK was gripped by one of the hottest summers since records began, with many parts of the country reporting temperatures of close to 35C. Whilst the Met Office are fairly certain another blistering heatwave is unlikely this summer, they have already warned that we are to expect temperatures that are higher than usual during July and August.
But spare a thought for the elderly especially neighbours. High temperatures and strong rays of sunshine can cause multiple health implications, particularly for older people.
David Glover, Managing Director of in-home care franchise, Caremark, offers his insight on how you can offer a helping hand during the warmer months and the impact it could have on those who most need the help.As temperatures rise, older people often find it harder to take part in summer activities; higher pollen count and an increase in humidity has an adverse effect on pre-existing health complaints. As we get older, our bodies become less able to regulate temperature as people over 65 don’t sweat as much as younger adults – unfortunately, this is one of the body’s most important heat-regulation mechanisms.
Checking in on someone during spells of warmer weather, if only for a few minutes a day, offers an opportunity to ensure that person is taking good care of themselves and regulating their own body temperate effectively. It’s also a good idea to check on their general wellbeing – making sure they’re managing to keep their home cool and that they’re in good spirits. Older people living alone might be more aware that neighbours are hosting BBQs and parties in the great outdoors, which could increase feelings of loneliness in those who aren’t able to see – so think about offering a chair in a shady spot to an elderly neighbour – the will probably really enjoy just watching and feeling they are taking part.
And don’t forget the kids; make sure they re-apply sunscreen frequently, especially if they are in and out of water.