The Kensington and Chelsea Forum  
for Older Residents

The independent forum for the older residents of the Royal Borough


The Message in a Bottle

The Kensington and Chelsea Forum for Older Residents with the Metropolitan Police re-launched the Message in a Bottle Scheme on 21st July at the Kensington Town Hall with the support of the Mayor Cllr.  Marie-Therese Rossi.  The Scheme is supported by the NHS West London Clinical Commissioning Group, My Care My Way, Local Pharmaceutical Committee, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police, the Kensington and Chelsea Forum for Older Residents and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 
The Message in a Bottle (MIAB) scheme is a brilliant idea to help vulnerable people at home. The information form in the bottle contains a picture of the person as well as medical and personal details.  The bottle is kept in the fridge.  In the event of a sudden accident or illness while at home, the first emergency service on the scene will be alerted to the bottle by the labels placed on the inside of the front door and on the fridge door. The information inserted will emphasise the key needs of each individual participating in the scheme, providing lifesaving information.  There is much scope in the usage of this scheme that could be of tremendous help to everyone involved.  Over 6000 bottles were purchased by our Metropolitan Police and we are extremely grateful to our Borough Commander, Ellie O’Connor for the support and guidance she has give us in delivering this unique scheme.
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This project was funded by the WLCCG and Adult Social Care to develop and reach out to the local community and beyond with information that would enable them to deal with health prblems without having to use the NHS for trivial ailments. There are 57 million visits to GPs a year in the UK for minor ailments at a cost to the NHS of £2 billion.

Speakers were scheduled to talk at five hubs. The presentations were given by expert speakers from key national health organisations:

Allergy UK
Alzheimer’s Society
Arthritis UK
Asthma UK
Boots UK
British Lung Foundation
British Nutrition Foundation
British Tinnitus Association
Depression Alliance
Diabetes UK
Diary Council to talk about nutrition and health
Electronics Aid Loan Library - Disabled Living Foundation
Extend Exercise Trainer
General Pharmaceutical Council
Health TrainersHealthcare at home
Heart UK – the cholesterol charity
Hidden Hearing – hearing aids and hearing problemsIndependent opticians
WLCCG – changes in the NHS services
Macular Society
Mr Jig Patel MB FRCS consultant orthopaedic surgeon at University College
Pembridige Dental – oral care
Pembridge Practice - podiatry
Professor Pat Schofield – Chair of the British Pain Society and professor at Greenwich University
Professor Pat Schofield’s Workshop team positive ageing
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to talk about glaucoma and cataracts
Self Management UK
Stroke UK
The Chelsea Osteopathic Clinic
The National Osteoporosis Society
Thyroid UK
World’s End Pharmacy

The speakers brought information about some key health issues, enabling the attendees to become informed and knowledgeable about particular health issues, thus facilitating confidence in when and what to do about looking after their own and their family’s health and wellbeing.Furthermore, information leaflets and the Self Care Forum Fact Sheets were distributed at each event. These Fact Sheets are information leaflets about common ailments and aim to help clinicians and patients handle issues around self care. These sheets provide information about:

Useful factsWhat patients can expect to happen (the natural history)What people can do to help themselves – now and in the futureWhen to seek medical helpWhere to find out more

A questionnaire was compiled to monitor the outcome of the project. Of the respondents, 72% said that they are now more confident in being able to look after their own and family’s health and to deal with illnesses. Furthermore, the results of questionnaires issued to participants regularly over the course of the project showed that 92% thought the sessions had helped them gather information which is helpful in dealing with their health issues.

Pharmacists such as Boots UK, independent pharmacies and the General Pharmaceutical Council were brought as speakers to demonstrate the range of common conditions and minor injuries with which a local pharmacist can deal by giving medications and advice. The pharmacists demonstrated that over-the-counter medications can be given by them and that some pharmacies also run a minor ailment scheme that deals with specific common health problems. The speakers demonstrated that the pharmacy teams also support people to look after themselves and their families without having to go to a GP all the time. Boots demonstrated that there are in store facilities for NHS Health Checks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, travel vaccinations, treatments for minor ailments, winter flu jab and the Boots Healthy Heart Check for those aged between 25 and 84. They also offer a medicine check service.

Self Care Project

The fundamental scheme behind bringing key speakers to give important information on health issues to the hubs has been to ensure that older people are more confident, empowered and self-reliant about their health issues. Furthermore, these sessions were designed to bring about life-long changes in behaviour that would improve the health and wellbeing of participants, thus reducing the use of the NHS resources.

The results of a questionnaire given to attending members showed that 92% now know how to prevent many illnesses as well as being able to self-treat minor ailments after attending our sessions. The majority of those attending our sessions have expressed their confidence in being able to challenge healthcare professionals about support in caring for themselves and loved ones after attending our sessions in the hubs and picking up the Fact Sheets. They have accessed information leaflets distributed by the professional organisations that sent speakers to our hubs and many have joined as members.
English National Ballet’s Dance, Health and Wellbeing programme involved regular monthly classes for people in the Cremorne Sheltered Clubrooms which engaged older people in dance chair exercises.

The dance programme for older people and for people with Dementia delivered by the English National Ballet primarily focuses on enjoying artistic and creative dance activities. Their dance classes enhance participants’ day-to-day quality of 
life, and improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing through creative expression.
Regular participation in high-quality dance and music activities helps to reduce isolation. Participants develop social networks and personal relationships through engagement with cultural activities and attending performances and special events with English National Ballet.

Those attending the sessions receive especially reduced tickets for the English National Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker Suite.

The new website: 
Senior Health and Wellbeing over 50’s Health and Self-Care Hub was developed by the Kensington and Chelsea Forum for Older Residents to help our members and the older population within the Borough and beyond to access important information about health and lifestyle changes. The website contains informative videos about health problems and links to health organizations which visitors can access to help them deal with health issues. The website has received an average of 600 unique visitors a month after its initial launch. We will be approaching SEO firms to help us increase the visitors to the site. This would be an in-kind contribution from the firm and we are aiming to increase the unique visitors to the site to at least 10,000 a month. The website covers the following issues:
Medicine Checker:
A link to a website which will tell you all about your medication, its side effects and other medicines you can use in its place

How to Keep your Brain Fit:
Lots of videos and exercises to test and improve your memory and your mind to postpone dementia and keep you young

Your Symptoms:
The NHS Symptom Checker – a great way to check things out online if you are worried about your symptoms, but don’t think it’s serious enough to go to the A & E
Informative Videos explaining your body:
Videos about your brain, heart, hearing (plus a hearing test), oral health, eyes and vision impairments and much, much more…

Keep you Body Fit:
Keep fit videos:- chair exercises for older people for those with arthritis or other conditions

About your Health:
Arthritis, glaucoma, Parkinson’s, diabetes, osteoporosis, super foods for your health and much, much more…

Adult Social Care

There are currently around 57 million GP consultations a year for minor ailments at a total cost to the NHS of £2bn. There is, therefore, a need for the implementation of a self-care programme. The overall aim of this project was to improve and promote effective self-care for older people within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Specifically, the aim of the project has been to increase
  • Confidence in dealing with health issues
  • Control over own health and wellbeing issues and those of loved ones
  • Awareness of activities available in RBKC to improve lifestyles
  • Willingness to engage with others and make new friends
  • Opportunity for exercise
  • Efficient use of resources.
The project objectives are to
  1. Conduct a review of qualitative research evidence. The aim of the review was to understand self-care in terms of older peoples’ own self-care management techniques, identifying the causal barriers and facilitators of self-care actions.
  2. Use the outcomes of that synthesis to create guidance which would be incorporated into educational provision for older people.
  3. Provide an opportunity for older people to incorporate a self-care regimen by offering skilled support beyond the educational facilities offered.
The outcomes are achieved by providing information, guidance and support on health issues at hubs and sheltered housing units throughout the Borough.

The Evidence:
The fact that information is given about a condition and its self-care regimen does not automatically lead to better self-care as individuals’ attitudes and mental health issues such as depression or cognitive impairment can interfere with an older person’s ability to engage in self-care. Thus, in order to enhance self-care effectiveness we have encouraged individuals to join professional health organizations who offer support, social networking and forums for people with the same conditions. Research has shown that joining social networks and forums are more helpful in implementing a self-care regimen than providing information alone. We have also continued to encourage older people to join Health Trainers for support in dealing with self-care issues. 

Over a quarter of the population of England suffer a long-term condition, and 58% of the over 60s have one or more long-term conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, age-related macular degeneration or heart conditions. People with long-term conditions use substantial proportions of the health care services, and their care uses 70% of hospital and primary care budgets in England. We have worked to equip older people who have accessed our sessions to manage their own conditions. We have shown them where to access support by bringing major organizations along to present information and membership opportunities including helplines which would assist them in managing their conditions. For example, Parkinson’s UK has a self-management programme as does Arthritis Research UK. We have continued to encourage those with long-term conditions to join the Self-Management UK which offers courses.