Loneliness threatens life of elderly as Government mobilises to tackle problem


Ester Ranzen, chair of Silver Line
A co-ordinated effort, bringing together care agencies and local authorities, to tackle loneliness amongst the elderly has been launched by the Government.
 For the first time local authorities will identify areas where older people suffer most acutely from loneliness to allow them to tackle the growing problem of social isolation and its harmful effects, announced Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
By mapping areas where loneliness is high, better care can be targeted at those who need it most – including older people.
Research clearly shows us that loneliness can affect health – it increases the risk of heart disease, puts people at greater risk of blood clots and dementia, and makes them more likely to exercise less and drink more. Socially isolated and lonely adults are also more likely to undergo early admission into residential or nursing care.
The new measure of social isolation, launched as part of the updated Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework for 2013/14, is part of a package of plans to address the challenges of caring for an ageing population – including ÂŁ20m announced today to help thousands of older people stay warm and healthy over the winter.
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:
“Tackling loneliness, by giving people better care and improved services, is another step towards making the UK one of the best places to live in Europe for older people.
“I want the highest standards of treatment and care in our hospitals, in our care homes and in the community – and that means looking at whatever is needed to drive improvements.
“We need a measure of loneliness to shine a light on this problem and to know what we are dealing with.  Once we have this solid evidence, local communities will have new tools to come up with the right, targeted solutions to the problem.”
Further research shows that:
  •  more than half of those over the age of 75 live alone – with about one in ten suffers ‘intense’ loneliness;
  • half of older people – more than five million – say that the television is their main company;
  • 17 per cent of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week, and 11% are in contact less than once a month;
As a result of this new measure, local authorities will be able to compare data about how lonely or isolated the people in their area report to be. This information will help them identify how serious the problem is in their communities and what action is needed to tackle it.
Laura Ferguson, Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness said:
“Loneliness is a major health issue. An effective measure of isolation and loneliness is an important step to improving the lives of the hundreds of thousands of older people who are chronically lonely. This national measure can only help those making local health and care decisions to prioritise loneliness as a health issue, and one that they will tackle.”
Chair of The Silver Line, Esther Rantzen CBE said:”Loneliness creates a loss of confidence, an erosion of self-esteem, so that the front door becomes as solid as a brick wall and as impossible to break through. Some older people told me that they have nobody to speak to at all for weeks on end.  
“And yet there are many varied projects and organisations all over the UK, often staffed by volunteers, who could break through this life-threatening isolation, if older people knew whom to contact.   That is why we are in the process of creating a special helpline for older people, The Silver Line, which pilots from the end of November for three months and will launch nationally next year, and which will offer advice, information and friendship. We will have an important role in linking callers to the existing services in their local areas and we hope that our high profile will enable us to reach people who are at the moment totally isolated. Our slogan will be, “No question too big, no problem too small, no need to be alone.”  
Paul Najsarek, ADASS and Corporate Director for Adult Services at London’s Harrow Council said:
“The development of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework for 2013/14 has been a genuinely collaborative process between the Department of Health and local government. We strongly support the emphasis on the greater alignment of the framework with the Public Health and NHS Outcomes Frameworks – shared outcomes will drive the more efficient use of resources, and more seamless, joined-up care pathways. 
“The framework’s focus on people’s experiences of care and support is welcome – in particular, a new measure of social isolation among users of care and carers will bring a renewed focus to efforts to support people to maintain the connections to their communities which are so vital to their wellbeing. This year’s framework marks a significant step forward, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Department to build on the framework in future years”.
This announcement comes as Jeremy Hunt revealed that thousands of people across the country will benefit from a share of ÂŁ20 million of Government money to help them stay safe and well during the cold winter months.
Council projects will receive a total of ÂŁ20 million from the Warm Homes, Health People fund. This will help them run innovative schemes to help vulnerable people keep warm and safe and prevent people needing to go to hospital during the winter months.
The new measure forms part of the new Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework and updated Public Health Outcomes Framework for 2013/14. The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework measures the quality of our care and support, and how well that care helps people to stay well and independent, and able to play an active role in their communities.   As the problems of  loneliness and social isolation can affect everyone, not just users of care services and carers, the Department of Health is working to develop a population based measure of loneliness.
The updated framework includes:
  •  Social isolation – a new measure of social isolation for users of care and support and carers, in response to the key White Paper commitment to address loneliness and social isolation (shared with PHOF)
  • Dementia care – a new measure to promote joined up working across adult social care and the NHS, to improve the quality of life and sustain the independence of people with dementia (shared with NHSOF)
  • Integrated care – a new measure on people’s experience of seamless, integrated care (shared with NHSOF)
  • Reablement – a new measure of the effectiveness of reablement care in supporting people to maintain their independence
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Britain’s first snoring bootcamp opens


London: The hunt is on to find the worst snorers in the UK, with the culprits being offered the chance to take part in an exclusive Snoring Boot Camp, which will kick-off in June.

Nominations are invited from browned-off loved-ones, families and friends even snorers themselves as part of the search launched by Helps Stop Snoring, makers of the first clinically proven remedy for the problem.

The most deserving cases from across the UK will then be selected to be amongst the first cadets to take their place at the army style boot ‘s very own Sergeant Major.

There they will undergo a rigorous three-day grunt-busting course which will include advice from a leading Ear, Nose and Throat specialist along with a crack team of dieticians, fitness experts and lifestyle gurus.

Graham Carr-Smith of Helps Stop Snoring said: “We already know that the UK is a hotbed of snoring activity, so we are expecting interest and competition for places to be extremely high.”

As part of any agreement to take part in the camp, our Sergeant Major will inspect each guest’s bags for contraband items such as alcohol and cigarettes, both of which can exacerbate snoring.

The aim is to provide as much advice and information as possible to the selected snorers and their families, helping them to reduce or stop the problem altogether. It’s going to be tough, but the results should be worth it.

If you know someone who disrupts your sleep with unhealthy night time noises, or you want to give your anti-social nocturnal noise the boot, the country’s first Snoring Boot Camp will open its doors on 20th June. This is your chance to cure the culprit, or at least banish them for a while.

Snoring can also be a sign of other underlying medical conditions which is why its important to get it investigated.

To apply, please visit www.stopsnoring.co.uk”> and follow the online application procedure. Alternatively, contact the Helps Stop Snoring Boot Camp Hotline on 0845 270 1660.

As part of the boot camp cadets will receive two-nights all expenses paid accommodation at the mystery location, along with a year’s supply of Helps Stop Snoring products to take away.

About Helps Stop Snoring products

Helps Stop Snoring new Oral Strips contain a blend of essential oils, which tone the tissues of the soft palette when the strip is dissolved into the throat. This reduces the ability of these areas to reverberate and create the noise we recognise as snoring.

Helps Stop Snoring is available as either an easy to use throat spray or oral strips and is available in the UK at Boots, Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores. The handy-sized 9ml throat spray offers three weeks of uninterrupted and peaceful sleep for only ÂŁ6.99. Oral strips are also available in packets of 16 strips for ÂŁ4.79.

More information can be found at www.stopsnoring.co.uk

Wellcome Collection London – 2008 programme

London: An analysis of 26 skeletons selected from the Museum of LondonÂ’s collection of 17,000; textile designs based on patterns found in x-ray crystallography, not seen since the 1951 Festival of Britain; a newly commissioned film by Marion Coutts and an exhibition about the thoughts and wishes of the dying – are some of the forthcoming special exhibitions at Wellcome Collection during 2008. [full listings below].

2008 will end with a major exhibition exploring the complex relationship between War & Medicine and the ways in which mankind’s desire to repair and heal has tried to keep pace with its capacity to wound and kill. The exhibition will look back as far as the Crimean War and will be brought up to date by specially commissioned artwork addressing the problems of military medicine in the conflict in Afghanistan. This will be the second part of a two-phase collaboration with the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, the first of which, Sleeping & Dreaming, opened on 28 November and closes on 9 March 2008.

Wellcome Collection www.wellcomecollection.orgthe new ÂŁ30m public venue from the Wellcome Trust opened in June 2007. The buildingÂ’s three galleries combine medicine, life and art to provide insight into the human condition. Exhibitions, both temporary and permanent, are supported through a public events programme that brings together experts from the arts, science and humanities to further explore human wellbeing. Wellcome Collection has been visited by over 100,000 people during its first five months of opening.

Full information on each temporary exhibition will be posted at www.wellcomecollection.orgthroughout 2008. Entry to all exhibitions is free.

Sleeping & Dreaming (28 November 2007 – 10 March 2008)

Sleeping & Dreaming, the second major temporary exhibition at Wellcome Collection, explores sleep – the mysterious state we inhabit for a third of our lives. 250 objects across five major themes enable visitors to explore the biomedical and neurological processes that take place in the sleeping body and the social and cultural areas of our lives to which sleep and dreams are linked. The exhibition is the first of a two-part collaboration with the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden. Exhibits range from artworks by Goya, Catherine Yass, Jane Gifford and Laura Ford, to an interview with a victim of sleep-deprivation interrogation; from a vehicle designed to provide homeless people with a mobile place to sleep to an extraordinary range of alarm clocks and a collection of traditional lullabies from around the world. Sleeping & Dreaming public events are detailed below.

Life Before Death (8 April – 18 May 2008)

The German photographer Walther Schels and journalist Beate Lakotta spent a year talking with terminally ill patients in hospices across Germany. They photographed 24 consenting patients shortly before and just after they died. The resultant portraits are shown side-by-side, accompanied by a short text which describes the patient’s experience of the situation in which they find themselves – having to come to terms with the imminent end to their lives.

Atoms to Patterns (24 April – 10 August 2008)

This exhibition brings to light an extraordinary collection of vibrant textile designs from the early 1950s, most of which have been lying unseen in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum for over 50 years. For the 1951 Festival of Britain a group of designers collaborated with some of the most distinguished scientists of the period to devise a range of fabrics and furnishings based on patterns revealed by x-ray crystallography – a means of visualizing the crystal structure of both organic and inorganic materials.

Marion Coutts (30 May – 29 June 2008)

The artist Marion Coutts will present a new film, commissioned by Wellcome Collection, which will use objects from the collections of Henry Wellcome and
from the Science Museum playfully to explore the workings of memory.

Skeletons (22 July – 28 September 2008)

The Museum of London has approximately 17,000 skeletons in its care, all removed for their preservation, from building sites under different parts of London. This exhibition will present 26 of these skeletons along with all the information about their health and likely social circumstances that can be gleaned from the location in which they were found and from a detailed analysis of their bones. The skeletons featured include some dating back to Roman times and many which reveal a great deal about the health and social conditions of the period in which they lived..

War & Medicine (November 2008 – March 2009)

The third major special exhibition at Wellcome Collection and, following Sleeping & Dreaming, the second of two exhibitions devised in collaboration with the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden. War & Medicine will assess the impact and influence that warfare and medicine have had on one another. It looks at the way mankind’s desire to repair and heal has tried to keep pace with its capacity to maim and kill, meeting sometimes with success and sometimes with failure. As with Sleeping & Dreaming, this exhibition will include the perspectives of artists, writers and filmmakers as well as those of medical scientists and social historians.


Two of Wellcome CollectionÂ’s three galleries are permanent. These are:

Medicine Man (350 m2): This exhibition contains more than 500 strange and beautiful artefacts from Sir Henry Wellcome’s original collection, presented in a rich American walnut-panelled gallery, centred on a large ‘Wunderkammer’ cabinet.

Medicine Now (350 m2): The Medicine Now exhibition explores contemporary medical topics through the eyes of scientists, artists and popular culture in a bright contemporary environment.

All temporary exhibitions are supported by a series of public events that enable people to discover more about the subjects they cover. Below are the remaining public events for Sleeping & Dreaming that bring together experts from science, the arts and humanities to explore this twilight world. Events are free unless otherwise stated. All tickets must be booked in advance from < a href="http://www.wellcomecollection.org">www.wellcomecollection.org

Late-night Film Festival
Friday 25 January 2008, 19.00–23.00
Explore Wellcome Collection by night and see rare footage from the Wellcome Library collection screened alongside classic feature films and quirky shorts exploring sleeping and dreaming. Galleries, café and bookshop will be open throughout. A full screening programme will be available in December at www.wellcomecollection.org

Catherine Yass: Artist in Conversation and premiere of new film work
Thursday 7 February 2008, 19.00–20.30

The first opportunity of seeing a new work by leading British artist Catherine Yass that documents her waking moments and dream recall. Catherine will be joined in conversation by Lux Gallery Curator, Lucy Reynolds, and will discuss her interests in sleeping and dreaming.

Speaker: Catherine Yass, artist featured in exhibition

Facilitator: Lucy Reynolds, Curator, Lux

Sleep Talk

A unique symposium exploring insomnia and sleeplessness
Friday 22 February 2008, 19.00–21.00
Saturday 23 February 2008, 10.30–17.00
Tickets: ÂŁ30 / ÂŁ20 concessions

This symposium will explore insomnia and sleeplessness through science, psychology, history, sociology and art. The event will begin with a special performance of BachÂ’s Goldberg Variations by innovative classical music group, Manning Cammerata. When Johann Sebastian Bach first composed this music, it was used as a curative for Count von KaiserlingÂ’s insomnia.

Speakers Include
Ann Coxon, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern,
Kenton Kroker, Science and Technology Studies, York University, Toronto
Eluned Sumners Bremner, Department of WomenÂ’s Studies, University of Auckland
Kevin Morgan, Director of Clinical Sleep Research Unit, Loughborough University
Chris Idzikowski, Director, Edinburgh Sleep Centre
Russell Foster, Professor of Circadian Neuroscience, University of Oxford

An End To Feeling Shattered? If you could live without sleep, would you?
Friday 28 February 2008, 19.00–20.30
Drugs that enable you to stay awake 24 hours a day have been produced but would you want them? Should they be made available? What would be the impact on your body, your relationships and your life? Join a panel of outspoken speakers to debate whether drugs are the answer to 21st-centruy life.

Simon Williams, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Warwick
Danielle Turner, Neuroscience coordinator, University of Cambridge
John Harris, Professor of Bioethics, University of Manchester

Toby Murcott, Science writer and presenter

What is the Wellcome Collection?

Wellcome Collection is a new ÂŁ30 million visitor attraction from the Wellcome Trust that opened on 21 June 2007. Wellcome Collection is a world first. It combines three contemporary galleries together with the world-famous Wellcome Library, public events forum, cafĂ©, bookshop, conference centre and members’ club, to provide visitors with radical insight into the human condition.

Wellcome Collection builds on the vision, legacy and personal collection of Wellcome Trust founder Sir Henry Wellcome and is part of the Wellcome Trust’s mission to foster understanding and promote research to improve human and animal health. The building is centred around three substantial galleries totalling 1350m2 and the world famous Wellcome Library.

About the Wellcome Trust: www.wellcometrust.ac.uk

The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK and the second largest medical research charity in the world. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending around ÂŁ500 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing. Wellcome Trust funding has supported a number of major successes, including:

*sequencing the human genome
*establishing the UK Biobank
*development of the antimalarial drug artemisinin
*pioneering cognitive behavioural therapies for psychological disorders
*building the Wellcome Wing at the Science Museum
* the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, the largest ever genetic study of common diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and bipolar disorder

The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England, no. 210183

London’s leading private hospital group publishes patient success and failures


LondonÂ’s leading private hospital company, HCA International, has taken the ground breaking step to become the first in the independent sector to publish outcome data, giving patients the opportunity to see how they perform relative to other hospitals.

The ‘HCA Quality Report’, published this autumn, shows how their hospitals, including The Portland, The Wellington and The Princess Grace, perform in key areas such as cardiac surgery survival, MRSA, surgical site infections, intensive care survival rates and unplanned readmissions. Much of the data confirms that HCA hospitals out-perform, or are on a par with, some of London’s most recognised acute hospitals.

The data is being made publicly available for the first time, in response to increased demand from private medical insurers, advisors and patients to have more information about quality of care. Some of the ‘performance indicators’ in the report can be directly checked against other hospitals, for example, cardiac surgery outcomes, whereas others are shown relative to a ‘predicted score’ based on factors such as patient history and surgical risk.

The report can be viewed on line at www.hcaqualityreport.hcainternational.com

HCA hospitals believe that publishing their data will help position them as a company of choice within the highly competitive private healthcare market. HCA has invested more than ÂŁ100 million to become the hospital of choice for acute medical procedures in London, and believes this is now being reflected in the successful outcome data.

HCA’s Commercial Director, Raj Vasudevan, said, “Increasingly, hospitals are being required by the Healthcare Commission to provide evidence of standards of care. Until recently this didn’t include independent hospitals’ outcome data, but we have been routinely collecting this data for years as part of our internal quality programmes and are now proud to deliver the results.”

He added, “Patient satisfaction surveys just aren’t enough. Anyone who is paying for private treatment has done so because they want to access ‘the best’. Patients expect this information to be available and we are delighted they will be able to receive it from HCA.”

About HCA

HCA International is a leading private healthcare provider in London. Its six hospitals, and two outpatient centres, are some of the capitalÂ’s most respected and well-established private hospitals and hold national awards for achieving gold standard quality in healthcare*.

The HCA hospitals are:

· The Harley Street Clinic

· The Lister Hospital

· London Bridge Hospital

· The Portland Hospital

· The Princess Grace Hospital

· The Wellington Hospital

Each hospital has its own specialities, its own individual character and its own reputation. Each one offers high levels of expertise and a standard of clinical excellence which is unsurpassed in London and the private sector.

HCA hospitals undertake a wide range of private medical treatments in London including many acute procedures such as heart surgery, neurology and cancer care and are amongst some of the most prestigious establishments in the capital.

* Independent Healthcare Awards 2006 hosted by Laing & Buisson