This year’s Theme is Art and Creativity.
For many people with a learning disability and their families, getting creative has been a way to stay connected and positive through the challenges of last year.
We know that people with a learning disability are up to twice as likely to experience mental health problems, due to many factors like discrimination and social isolation.
This week is Loneliness Awareness Week, the event happens annually and is hosted by Marmalade Trust.
The campaign aims to reduce the stigma around loneliness and encourage people to talk more openly about it. The campaign aims to reach 18-24 year old’s, we know that young people feel more confident and motivated to take action to help other people who feel lonely rather than doing things to help themselves.
However, we know that loneliness is an issue that can affect us all, young or old, at any point in our lives.
This week, reach out to others, check in on friends and family, help someone who may be feeling lonely, small acts of kindness can make a big difference.
The St Lukes Lymphoedema service regularly receives referrals for patients who have long term swelling of their legs; they do not have a true Lymphoedema so they cannot be seen by us and their GP’s often struggle to know what to do. If only these patients had received advice about looking after their legs when they were younger maybe they could have avoided this chronic disabling problem. As a team we discussed how this information and other evidence could be shared with colleagues to improve their health and how it might reduce the number of people being inappropriately referred to the lymphoedema service in the long term.
So if you would like to reduce your risk of leg problems and avoid becoming a potential patient in the future read on…..
A study carried out in Australia in 2004 showed that wearing low grade compression hosiery reduced the effects of standing for long periods (Piller et al 2004). Workers who wore the hosiery for work reported reduced swelling, less discomfort and less tiredness at the end of their working day. The authors of the study suggest that this would translate to an improvement in the health of the tissues and would reduce the risk of chronic venous disease.
Chronic Venous Disease
One of the most common conditions affecting people in old age is chronic venous disease. The symptoms of which can range from swollen aching legs at one end of the spectrum to venous leg ulcers at the other end, the most common sign of chronic venous disease is varicose veins. (Hobson 1997)
Workers who stand for long periods increase their likelihood of swollen legs due to the vascular and lymphatic system having to constantly work against gravity allowing extra fluid to build up in the tissues. This can cause damage to the valves in the veins, which over time can fail, allowing blood to flow backwards, causing enlargement of the veins (varicose veins). Left untreated this can lead to permanent swelling and discomfort and potentially venous ulceration. (Tuscher et al 2000)
Occupations such as teaching, nursing and hairdressing increase the risk of chronic venous disease due to prolonged standing. (Hobson 1997, Piller et al 2004)
Whilst standing for long periods can cause venous disease, it is recognised that sitting at a desk can also be problematic. The venous and lymphatic systems of the body relies upon muscle action to function, long periods of inactivity such as prolonged sitting at a computer and long flights can cause reduce blood flow in the veins leading to deep vein thrombosis as frequently reported in the press. Also there can be pooling of lymphatic fluid causing ankle swelling. (Hughes 2000). Treatment for the effects of inactivity is exercise, regular movement that causes contraction of the calf muscles (O’Donovan et al 2006). Deep vein thrombosis can lead to fatal complications; wearing compression hosiery can reduce the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (Clarke et al 2010)
The other recognised risk to the health of lower legs is cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin. This often occurs following an insect bite or an animal scratch, however it can occur due to bacteria entering through dry, broken or damaged skin (British Lymphology Society 2010, Morris 2003). This best defence against cellulitis is healthy intact skin, which can be maintained through regular moisturising and prompt treatment of fungal infections such as athletes foot. (Linnitt 2000, Nazarko 2012) Repeated episodes of cellulitis can result in long term swelling of the legs. Approximately 80,000 people were admitted to hospital as a result of cellulitis in England in 2009, which is an increase of 300 % over the previous 15 years. In 2010, 917 people died of cellulitis in England and Wales (NHS Choices 2012).
Well if that hasn’t convinced you to take the health of your legs seriously I’m not sure what would. A few minutes in the morning spent moisturising your skin, getting up and doing regular exercise and wearing compression hosiery in the form of support tights bought at a department store or from a hosiery company will make a big difference to your legs, your health and potentially your life.
Share this information with your friends, colleagues and patients now.
It was announced on Sunday, 12 December 2021, that the NHS will offer a booster vaccination booking to every adult by the end of December in response the Omicron variant.
Please note that you should not contact your GP Practice to book your booster jab, you should use the National Booking Service or call 119. Some vaccination sites may offer a walk-in service but the best way to ensure you get a jab is to make an appointments through the nationals booking service.
General practice is working hard to support the covid-19 vaccination programme, but we are still here for you but the way you access care may be different:
Some individuals are unable to be vaccinated and also, in some cases, tested for medical reasons. You can apply for proof that you have a medical reason why you should not be vaccinated or why you should not be vaccinated and tested.
If you get this proof of medical exemption you’ll be able to use the NHS COVID Pass wherever you need to prove your COVID-19 status within England.
Until 24 December 2021, you can self-certify that you’re medically exempt if you work or volunteer in a care home.
Some businesses in England choose to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry. Until 24 December, businesses can decide whether to allow in people who self-declare that they’re medically exempt.
From 25 December, if you’re unable to get vaccinated, you’ll have to use the NHS COVID Pass in the same way that people who are fully vaccinated use it.
For full information on the requirements for proof regarding being exempt from Covid-19 vaccination please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-medical-exemptions-proving-you-are-unable-to-get-vaccinated
With the new legal requirements regarding face coverings coming into effect in England, we thought it might be useful to explain when and who requires a covid exemption card/certificate.
If you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering:
This means that you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.
However, if you feel more comfortable showing something that says you do not have to wear a face covering, this could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or sign. Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and not required by law.
If you wish to use an exemption card or badge, you can download and print out or show these templates: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear them, so please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances.
Some people are less able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
This includes (but is not limited to):
There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering:
Do you help care for your husband, wife or partner or child?
Do you help a friend or relative with shopping or other tasks?
Then you are a carer….
When you’re caring for someone, it can be difficult to get time to take care of yourself. But looking after your own health and wellbeing will benefit you and the person you’re caring for.
Find out out the Spring Farm Carers Wellbeing Programme poster 2021.