The experience of older people with multimorbidity during the COVID-19 pandemic 

A report into the experiences of older people with multimorbidity during the pandemic has found a fifth of individuals did not have access to community health, social care services and support from other health professionals. 

The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing COVID-19 Substudy also found respondents with multimorbidity were more likely to report poor sleep quality, eating less and being worried about not having enough food and other essentials. 

Unhealthy behaviours, poor mental health and loneliness deteriorated considerably during the lockdown and in the two months following.

The report says, when considering policies which advise people to shield or self-isolate, it is important to acknowledge that older people with multiple long-term health conditions are at higher risk of experiencing greater mental distress and worry, of engaging in unhealthy behaviours and are less likely to access health services when needed.

All these factors together could potentially influence disease progression.


Self Management Awards 2020 winners

PIF members have been recognised at the Self Management Awards 2020.

The awards, which are hosted by another PIF member ALLIANCE, celebrate those helping people to self-manage their long-term conditions.

Crohn's & Colitis UK won Self Management Resource of the Year for its Crohn’s & Colitis Flare Card.

It helps patients recognise flare symptoms, signposts them to appropriate support, and reduces demand for emergency care. 

The team was nominated because of the way in which they collaborated and engaged with patients to produce the flare card.

Versus Arthritis won Self Management Project of the Year for its Joint Potential project.

Joint Potential is a self management and personal development project designed to establish a sustainable and integrated pathway for young people with a form of arthritis or related condition.

By being integrated within rheumatology teams, the project ensures self management is on the agenda from the start of each appointment.

Click on the link below for the full list of winners.


GMC guidance says shared-decision making is key to good care

Effective decision making based on conversations between doctors and patients is fundamental to good care, according to guidance published by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The new decision making and consent guidance takes effect from Monday 9 November.

It follows extensive consultation with doctors, patient groups, health service employers and healthcare and legal experts.

The guidance will help doctors have meaningful conversations with patients about their treatment and care options, and is designed to be easy to follow, taking account of the pressures doctors are under at work.

It includes a single page summary with key principles doctors need to know, a focus on the importance of taking a proportionate approach, tailored to individual patients, and information on how healthcare colleagues can support decision making.


Latest rapid COVID-19 guideline will address Long Covid

NICE and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network have announced they will work with the Royal College of General Practitioners to develop a guideline on persistent effects of COVID-19 (Long Covid) on patients.

People have reported persistent symptoms regardless of how ill they were initially or whether they were hospitalised. 

Longer-term impacts can include on-going shortness of breath, fatigue, heart, lung, kidney, neurological and musculoskeletal problems.

The guideline will address, among other things, a formal definition of the disease, how to identify on-going symptoms and a definition of best practice investigation and treatment options to support the management of the condition across diverse communities.


Experiences of the 'restart' of health and care services

The Patient Experience Library has published a rapid review of more than 500 reports of people's experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The review was prompted by a discussion hosted by National Voices.

It offers examples showing how health inequalities are exacerbated by lockdown restrictions and reduced access to services. 

It also shows where the evidence base is strong and where there are gaps that need to be filled.

The report recommends conducting a full systematic review of the evidence so human experience can be taken into account when planning responses.

The Patient Experience Library

Study: Patient experiences of the urgent cancer referral pathway

A study has concluded the NHS needs to improve communication and streamline pathways for patients on urgent cancer referral.

A series of semi-structured interviews with people with upper gastrointestinal cancer found patients:

  • Felt pathways were complex and were unsure what would happen next
  • Were daunted by the intensity and speed of investigations
  • Were presented with a recommended course of action rather than options and had little involvement in decision making
  • Were grateful for care, reluctant to complain and resigned to the status quo

Authors concluded future cancer pathways need to be designed to support shared decision making, be truly person‐centred and informed by patient experience.

Wiley Online Library

Help Us, Help You resources

NHS England and Public Health England have launched a new campaign to address the barriers deterring patients from accessing the NHS and to help the public understand how they can safely access services.

The first phase of Help Us, Help You, which launched last week, focuses on encouraging the public to contact their GP if they are worried about a symptom that could be cancer. 

A series of resources which can be used to support the campaign are available by clicking on the link below.

Public Health England

Study: Social media use, eHealth literacy, disease knowledge and preventive behaviours

A study examining the impact of social media use on health promotion during the COVID-19 pandemic has concluded it is an effective tool to encourage preventative behaviours.

The authors found eHealth literacy and disease knowledge positively moderated the relationship between social media use frequency and preventive behaviours.

They concluded health literacy is essential for promotion of individual health.


Factsheet: The importance of healthy lungs in the fight against COVID-19

The European Lung Foundation has produced an infographic-style factsheet explaining how each of the Healthy Lungs for Life key topics help to protect lungs and why this is so important during COVID-19.

The key topics are: stopping smoking, vaccination, air quality and physical activity.

The factsheet is currently available to download in English by clicking on the link below. More languages will follow.

European Lung Foundation

Safeguarding in virtual consultations in primary care

New advice has been published for GPs on safeguarding in all virtual consultations, including phone and video calls.

The document was developed by Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG and has been reviewed and endorsed by the National Network of Named GPs for Safeguarding.

Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG

Back to school on digital inclusion

In this blog, Robin Christopherson, AbilityNet's head of digital inclusion, looks at how the UK government is doing on digital inclusion during COVID-19.

He highlights that an official response to calls for for a disability-inclusive COVID-19 response arrived in an inaccessible PDF format.


Tackling the rising tide of childhood vulnerability caused by COVID-19

A new report examining the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on children calls for a comprehensive recovery package and provides a roadmap for what should be done to help children recover from their experiences of the last six months and the ongoing crisis.

Childhood in the time of Covid was published by Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England.

She sets out how for many of the most vulnerable children the disruption of the last six months has been damaging and compounded existing inequalities. 

The report also highlights how some of the most vulnerable, including children in care, children in custody and children with special educational needs or disabilities have seen their rights actively downgraded at a time when protections should have been increased, not weakened.

Children's Commissioner

Get Online Week 2020

Get Online Week 2020 takes place from 19 to 25 October.

Resources for the week are available to download by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article.

Any organisations providing local digital skills support who are unable to host a campaign event this year can still register as a Get Online Week organisation and be shown on the map. Click here to sign in and register.

Anyone wishing to show their support for the event on social media can download images and infographics from the Get Online Week website or use the new filters.

Get Online Week