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World Alzheimers Day 2017

On #WORLDALZHEIMERSDAY we look at the latest statistics and what can be done to help people with Alzheimers.

A global report has suggested that Dementia cases are set to treble in Ireland by 2041. There are currently 42,000 people living with the disease here. But that is set to increase to 140,000 cases in less than 30 years.

Alzheimer’s Disease International says 44 million people live with the disease globally, but that figure will increase to 135 million by 2050. (source, BBC news).

Globally, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. 

Caring for a person with dementia can be very demanding but Bluebird Care can help you to support your loved one by offering advice, guidance and support, assessing and then developing a person centred support plan which is implemented by experienced staff. Support can be on a regular basis or short term to provide a break for family members and carers.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. This means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, more symptoms develop. They also become more severe.

But dementia is no longer the taboo topic it once was. People are talking more frankly about living with dementia than ever before. That’s thanks in part to the power of social media.

Everyday tasks such as washing and dressing can be difficult and cause stress and anxiety for the person. This is where our staff can help by working with them in a respectful and dignified manner. Washing and toileting is something most of us have done in private since childhood so the lack of privacy and self-consciousness is easy to understand. Staff are trained to encourage independence and offer choices whilst respecting privacy and maintaining safety.

Maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet is important and very often a person with dementia loses interest in food which will affect their over-all health and well- being. Bluebird Care staff can assist in preparing a nutritious meal and present it in a manner that looks appealing.

Bluebird Care staff can provide companionship and encourage activities which people have previously enjoyed such as gardening, walking or even swimming.

Challenging or unusual behaviour can be confusing and difficult to deal with. Staff at Bluebird Care can help you by advising on how to manage this by working with you to identify what may be causing the behaviour of your loved one and finding ways to overcome the problem so that the situation can become more manageable.

 

Having a Choice in Home Care

“Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin”

is a lovely old Irish saying which means, “There is no fire side like your own fireside”. How true this is.

We all love the comfort and security of our own homes and so, it is the wish of many of us, as we grow older and move on in years, to remain in our own homes, close to our families, friends and community.

Unfortunately, sometimes, due to circumstances such as ill health or the death of one’s life partner, life as we know it may change, and suddenly, that, what seemed very ordinary now becomes quite extraordinary and living at home no longer appears a viable option. But there is an option.

Thanks to many successive Governments in this country, there is today, a choice available for those of us that require a little extra help to remain in our homes, if we so wish.  This help is called home care. 

In Ireland, home care is provided by both the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the private sector, for instance, companies such as Bluebird Care, for which I am the Director of Care. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the service we provide and reassure you, that yes, home care can be an option for you and your family member if so required.

Bluebird Care is an independent service provider that provides direct care in the home and community to customers on behalf of the HSE and other agencies as requested. We also provide services to customers in a private capacity at the request of the individual or a family member.  We have 26 offices nationwide, all independently owned and managed.

At Bluebird Care we are dedicated to providing professional, safe, quality health and social care services in a dignified, respectful and compassionate manner to all of our customers.

Our care services facilitate people to remain in their own homes and community in so far as is possible.

We provide care services to the following:

  • Older Persons
  • Adults and older persons with a medical diagnoses of Dementia
  • Adults who require care and support due to chronic illness such as Arthritis, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Respiratory conditions etc.
  • Adults who require care and support as a result of an Acquired Brain Injury
  • Adults with an established Spinal Injury who require support/rehabilitation to live at home
  • Adults who require support with convalescence/rehabilitation post hospitalisation
  • Adults with Physical/Sensory/Intellectual Disabilities
  • Children with Physical/Sensory/Intellectual Disabilities
  • College Students who require support to attend college
  • Adults/Children with complex care needs i.e. Tracheostomy Care

An example of some of the type of care services we can provide for our customers in the community include:

  • Assisting the customer with his her personal care / hygiene needs / catheter care
  • Assisting the customer with getting up and going to bed.
  • Assisting the customer with dressing and undressing.
  • Meal preparation and assisting the customer with eating
  • Shopping and running errands
  • Medication prompting / collecting and returning medication from pharmacies / dispensing GP surgeries
  • Light Housework / laundry
  • Assisting the customer with social activities i.e. support with visiting friends, attending clubs.

Our services are nurse-led because we know that competent reflective nurse practitioners are crucial to the delivery of safe, quality customer care.

All our care staff have the required training and skill set as prescribed by the HSE to carry out their work and are supported in their work by our care managers and care supervisors.  We train our staff to place the customer at the heart and centre of every interaction.

Regardless of the position of any staff member in our company, we require that all staff involved in the provision of care on behalf of Bluebird Care have the following key competencies:  kindness, respect, dignity and compassion.

From the moment of referral, Bluebird Care will respond to the customer in a timely person centered manner. Anyone wishing to avail of our service will have a comprehensive assessment of their health and social care needs undertaken by one of our Care Managers.

Throughout the assessment process our Care Manager focuses on the needs and preferences of the customer and enables the customer and his / her family member (as appropriate) to participate in making informed decisions about his / her care. From this information a care plan is developed.

The care staff member with the most appropriate skills to meet the customers’ needs will be assigned to carry out the work in the customer’s home. The Care Manager will introduce this staff member to the customer and the care plan will be reviewed in detail with the customer at his or her home.

To support good quality service provision, we at Bluebird Care have developed and implemented robust policies and procedures and clinical guidance documents which support our care practices and are fully compliant with the HSE. In addition, we quality assure our service provision against HSE Home Support & Personal Care Services Service Standards and the HIQA National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare (2012).

It is important that I highlight, in particular, that at Bluebird Care the safety and wellbeing of all customers is paramount and all our staff receive specific training pertaining to safeguarding.

To conclude, we at Bluebird care want to be the best at what we do. This requires a lot of hard work, dedication and a very strong commitment from all our staff. 

We enjoy an excellent relationship with all of our customers and look forward to continuing with this commitment to our customers and their families over the next number of years.

I hope I have provided you with some insight into home care at Bluebird Care and more importantly the reassurance that there is always a realistic option.


Breda Mulvihill

Director of Care, Bluebird Care Ireland

Dementia Cases ‘set to treble worldwide’ by 2050

A global report has suggested that Dementia cases are set to treble by 2050.

The number of people living with dementia worldwide is set to treble by 2050, according to a new analysis.

Alzheimer’s Disease International says 44 million people live with the disease, but that figure will increase to 135 million by 2050.

The figures were released ahead of the G8 dementia summit in London next week. (Source BBC Health News)

Bluebird Care is a provider of specialised care and has devised an infographic depicting the global picture in relation to Dementia.  For more on our specialised services click here.

Dementia Infographic

What is Dementia?

  • Dementia is an umbrella term describing a serious deterioration in mental functions, such as memory, language, orientation and judgement
  • There are many types, but Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for two-thirds of cases, is the most well-known
  • There is no cure for any type of dementia – drugs can ease some of the symptoms, but do not tackle the underlying diseases
  • Patients may have had a decade of brain cells being destroyed before any symptoms appear

The worldwide cost of dementia in 2010 was $604 billion with about 70% of the costs occurring in Western Europe and North America

The symptoms of dementia come in three stages:

  • Early Stage: symptoms include forgetfulness, losing track of time or getting lost in familiar places;
  • Middle Stage: as dementia progresses the symptoms become more noticeable and include forgetfulness of recent events, forgetting people’s names, getting lost at home, difficulty communicating and behavioural changes.
  • Late Stage: the late stage of dementia is one of near inactivity and total dependence. Memory disturbances are serious and the physical signs and symptoms become more obvious. Symptoms include being unaware of a sense of time or place, difficulty recognising family or friends, a need for assisted self-care and difficulty walking.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is thought to cause over half of all cases. It is recognised by the build up of protein on the brain, which forms plaques and tangles, which stops the brain functioning properly.

Vascular dementia is the second most common type and it occurs when the blood supply to the brain is damaged.

Lewy Bodies is a type of dementia that shares characteristics with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Fronto Temporal is a rare type of dementia, which affects the personality, behaviour and language skills in the early stages. This form of dementia often causes a loss of insight and so the person may do and say things at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

Korsakoff Syndrome is a chronic memory disorder caused by severe deficiencies of thiamine (Vitamin B1). Korsakoff Syndrome is most commonly caused by alcohol misuse, but certain other conditions can also cause the syndrome.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is the common form of a group of rare, fatal brain disorders known as prion diseases. This disease triggers prion protein in the brain to fold into a three-dimensional abnormal shape.

Bluebird Care Carlow, Kilkenny & Waterford Palliative Care and MS Training and Information Day

Care staff from the local Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford Bluebird Care office recently took part in a very interesting training and awareness day on Palliative Care and Multiple Sclerosis.

The Palliative Care training was given by Bernie Brophy from the local Carlow/Kilkenny HomeCare Team. Carers found the presentation very beneficial with everyone keen to learn more about this important area. The afternoon session was hosted by the MS Society with a detailed and interesting presentation on MS and some guidance on how to Care for people with MS.

Brian Egan Managing Director of the local Bluebird Care office said that there was great feedback from everyone about the training. This forms part of the varied Bluebird Care Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford training programme. Aside from the mandatory Induction & Orientation workshop and Manual Handling and Patient Moving Training the local office has held training workshops in the following areas over the last year : Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care, Disability Awareness, Parkinson’s, Motor Neurones and now Palliative Care and Multiple Sclerosis.

On a national basis Bluebird Care are currently looking at rolling out new training initiatives for Carers throughout the country as training continues to provide a key focus for Bluebird Care as all offices continue to deliver a high standard of Care for people of all ages and needs in their own homes and in the community.

Bluebird Care are a leading Home Care provider with offices throughout Ireland providing Care on a private basis and as a preferred provider for the HSE. Flexible Care visits are provided from hourly care to 24/7 Live In Care with an individualised Care Plan completed for each client.