Social media helps Public Health England in food poisoning investigation

Twitter and Facebook aided investigators from PHE (Public Health England) in an investigation into the cause of an outbreak of food poisoning at the Street Spice Festival in Newcastle Upon Tyne last year. The street festival took place between 28th February and 2nd March 2013 and investigators used the social media sites to identify individuals who were showing symptoms of food poisoning in the area.

Through the help of social media PHE investigators managed to connect the sufferers with a coconut chutney that had been available at the festival and found that it was made using contaminated curry leaves.

The team managed to trace the outbreak back to those particular leaves because the identified source of the infection, Salmonella Agona, is a strain that hasn’t been seen in Britain before and is strongly associated with raw curry leaves.

A consultant in health protection, Dr Kirsty Foster said:

“In this case we were very fortunate in that there were some left over leaves from the event”.

The curry leaves were imported to the UK from Pakistan before the event.

Report shows half of dementia patients suffer malnutrition

A study, conducted by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), found that malnutrition affects over half of dementia patients – 70% of those in hospitals, 30% in care homes and 10% of those living at home.

There are around 800,000 dementia sufferers in the UK, more than half of which suffer with Alzheimer’s. Of the research that was studied for the purpose of the report it was found that half of care residents didn’t eat enough and almost half didn’t drink enough either.

Consequences of patients not eating or drinking enough include:

“frailty, reduced mobility, skin fragility, an increased risk of falls and fractures, exacerbation of health conditions and increased mortality,” the report said.

It’s well-known that the combination of the illness and certain treatments can cause people to lose their appetite. Studies in France and the UK also support this. Three French studies show that around 45% of those suffering with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s lose a significant amount of weight, and US studies show that half the residents in care homes don’t get enough fluid or food.

This shocking trend is expected to be similar in the UK and the Alzheimer’s Society head of policy George McNamara said:

“It is scandalous that hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in the UK have been let down when it comes to something as basic as food and drink.

It is vital to get the fundamentals of care right, and we need a wake-up call across our health and social care system.

Malnutrition can be avoided by healthcare professionals doing simple things such as monitoring weight and nutrition.”

Most luxurious care home to open in Hampshire

A complex costing £8.5 million, comprising 60 en-suite bedrooms, a hair salon, cinema and beach huts is to open next month.

Linden House in Hampshire looks like a high-end country hotel but is in fact, a care home that’s been developed for dementia patients. The state of the art complex has been developed not only so that people suffering with dementia can live in luxury but also so that they can improve their condition by stimulating their memory.

Colour coordinated doors help residents find their way around the large, three storey building and the enclosed outside space with themed gardens, gazebos and beach huts that reflect the town’s past, stimulating their memories.

Residents really do have everything they need, a shop themed area, a full-time hairdresser, spaces that present landscapes and other recognisable features around Lymington.

Although this really is the house of luxury, it does come at a price. The cost of being a resident at Linden House, in one of the large en-suite rooms, starts at £980.

Care home receives high praise in patient-led survey

Westergate House in Fontwell, Sussex achieved a performance rating of 909 out of 1,000 in the Your Care Rating survey – the biggest survey of the care industry in the country.

In this survey, over 20,000 residents from 1,055 care homes around the UK were asked to provide their feedback on a number of areas of their care including staff and care, choice and having a say, home comforts and quality of life.

This type of survey shouldn’t be used as a nationwide ranking of care homes but it’s a great way for potential residents and families of residents to evaluate care homes and assess exactly where they believe they’ll feel safe and comfortable.

After achieving over 90% in the survey, manager of Westergate House, Paul Middleton said:

“We’re pleased with our results as they show a snapshot of what the residents who have responded think about the services we provide at Westergate House care home.”

He went on to say that the Your Care Survey is just one of the ways that the home obtains feedback from the most important people – its residents – saying:

“We always listen and look to how we can improve on any comments that are raised”.