These new models of care are helping to keep older people healthy

It is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS.

The UK population is growing older, and older people need more health care. So can we find ways to help citizens stay healthy as they age – at the same time reducing the stress on the NHS?

Thanks to the innovative people working in the sector the answer is yes. There are many new models of care being piloted across the country… here are some we found interesting.

Laughter as the best medicine

Previous research at the university found that a positive mood improved the effectiveness of the flu vaccine on older people. Now they are going a stage further, showing patients comedy clips before the injection to see if it will lift their mood enough to make a clinical difference.

Exercise to reduce falls

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia and University of Oxford discovered that exercise significantly reduced the number of falls among older people. Their study also revealed which exercises were most beneficial in this regard.

Social prescribing success

In her NHS England blog, Professor Helen Jayne Stokes-Lampard recounts how the life of one of her patients, 84-year-old Enid, was rejuvenated when she was given a social prescription. Prof Stokes-Lampard writes: “I was able to connect her to a local social programme that worked for her and led to a massive improvement in her wellbeing.” It was one way that the new NHS plan for Universal Personalised Care could transform lives, she says.

Delirium health check

One in eight hospital patients is affected by delirium, which can make people unsteady on their feet, increases the risk of developing dementia and can result in longer hospital stays or admission to a care home. But a scheme in Salford increased the number of patients correctly diagnosed with delirium by 34%, through the introduction of screening via a computer tablet.

Technology-aided independence

This cutting-edge tech is helping people with long-term health conditions live independently at home. Sensors in the Liverpool home of Catherine Miller, 73, who has epilepsy, detect falls, changes in temperature and unusual behaviour patterns – and alert care workers.

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