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Patients and carers from Medway and Swale took the opportunity to receive one-to-one welfare benefits advice and support at an information event at the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester on Thursday 10 October 2013.

The event was held in support of Hospice Care Week 7-13 October 2013, a national week to raise awareness of the range of support available to people with life-limiting conditions and their families. Read More

Photo - Jo, Lola and James Clackett

Photo – Jo, Lola and James Clackett

Medway’s skin care nurses from Medway Community Healthcare are encouraging local people to know the signs of eczema during National Eczema Awareness Week, being led by the National Eczema Society, from 14 – 22 September 2013.

Eczema causes skin to become itchy, dry, sore and cracked and in severe cases can make skin bleed. Atopic eczema is the most common form and mainly affects children but can continue into adulthood. Read More

John Getley with wife Katrina Getley and granddaughter Olivia aged 13Local man John Getley who has recently recovered from a stroke is encouraging other stoke survivors to attend a new support group which meets for the first time in Medway in September. More

Medway Council is expressing its concerns over planned changes to mental health inpatient services in the area.

Cllr Wendy Purdy (Con), lead Medway Councillor on the Joint Kent and Medway Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, fears it will place vulnerable people at risk. “Medway needs local in-patient services, and across Kent and Medway all the indications are that we need more not less beds. This is a matter of serious concern.” said Cllr Purdy. More

Statement from Dr Peter Green, Chief Clinical Officer, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in response to the publication of the Keogh report.
More

School’s almost out for summer! And Medway Council and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are encouraging parents to make sure their children have had the full MMR vaccination before the school holidays begin. The long summer break involves travel, days out and contact with lots of people for many families. With a high number of cases of measles reported nationally this year and last, Medway Council and NHS Medway CCG say parents should make the vaccination a priority if their child has not had two doses. More

Local people are invited to meet specialist nurses from Medway Community Healthcare to get advice about problem skin conditions.

The team will be at Hempstead Valley on Thursday 18 July 2013 from 9am to 4pm. More

Kate Browning volunteer Wisdom HospiceTo mark National Volunteers’ Week (1 to 7 June 2013) health teams at Medway Community Healthcare are celebrating the vital support local volunteers give every day.

In Medway and Swale, 280 community volunteers support 47 teams by giving more than 4,000 hours of their own time each month. Their roles are varied and include offering complementary therapy at the Wisdom Hospice; supporting new mothers with breastfeeding; helping at exercise rehabilitation groups and assisting with administrative tasks.

Kate Browning is one of the longest-serving volunteers at Medway Community Healthcare, having been at the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester in a variety of roles spanning twenty years. Kate, who is 74, began volunteering at the hospice in 1993, inspired by the ‘wonderful care’ the team gave to her mother-in-law.

Kate explained: “I started out as a volunteer driver, helping people living in Medway and Swale to get to the Day Hospice once a week. The conversations you have during each journey are very important, people feel comfortable with you and safe. It’s about giving them the most pleasant journey you can.”

Having been a driver for many years, Kate decided to volunteer within the Day Hospice.

Kate continued: “I saw how much the day of relaxation and support helped people and I wanted to be part of it. I made tea, helped people at lunchtime and was on hand for anything that people needed allowing staff time to concentrate on nursing and running the activities.

“I now work on the hospice ward as a spiritual care volunteer, talking to and comforting very ill patients and their families. The days are varied, I even recently helped a husband to bring his pet spaniel to visit his wife; I enjoy bringing a smile to people’s faces.

“I admire the wonderful care the hospice team provide, they are exceptional at what they do. To be connected with them even by putting in a small bit is a huge privilege.”

Natalie Taylor, voluntary services manager, explained: “Our volunteers, aged from 17 to 83, volunteer with us for a number of reasons. Some wish to remain active after retirement, others are healthcare students looking to gain experience and we also have some of our former patients volunteering as their way of giving something back.

“Medway Community Healthcare would like to say a huge thank you to our many inspiring volunteers for the support you give to staff, patients and their families during National Volunteers’ Week and beyond.”

If you would like to become a volunteer with Medway Community Healthcare please call 01634 830456 and ask to speak to a voluntary services manager or visit http://www.medwaycommunityhealthcare.co.uk/volunteer

Local people have given the thumbs up to their community health services.

More than 3,000 people (96% of respondents) in Medway and Swale completed a survey rating the quality of care they received from teams at Medway Community Healthcare as good or very good. More

Fiona Stephens, Medway Community Healthcare

Fiona Stephens, Medway Community Healthcare

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has praised the care given to local people by the teams at Medway On Call Care (MedOCC), run by Medway Community Healthcare.

MedOCC provides urgent care for people in Medway 24/7 when their GP surgery is closed. Appointments are offered at Quayside, Chatham Maritime, as well as at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham. Doctors and specialist nurses also visit people at home if they are too unwell to travel to an appointment. More

An unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has given full marks to the Wisdom Hospice, run by Medway Community Healthcare.

The CQC inspectors assessed the Wisdom Hospice as meeting all five standards for patient quality and safety – respecting and involving people; care and welfare of people; safeguarding people from abuse; supporting workers and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

Each year, the Wisdom Hospice cares for more than 750 people with a life-limiting illness in Medway and Swale by providing inpatient care, out-patient services, a day hospice as well as community and hospital palliative care. Relatives of people using the hospice are also supported with information courses for carers, complementary therapy sessions and bereavement councillors.

The inspection report by the CQC praised the range of activities and complementary therapies available for people, including massage, physiotherapy, sensory treatments as well as arts and crafts.

When asked, patients and their relatives told inspectors that the care and support they or their loved one received at the Wisdom Hospice was outstanding.

A patient in the day hospice told inspectors that hospice staff had arranged for her carer to be trained in massage because it helped manage her symptoms.

One relative added: “My loved one was becoming increasingly distressed but is reassured with family present so staff have ensured that we can stay for as long as we like, including overnight.”

Fiona Stephens, clinical quality director at Medway Community Healthcare, said: “I am delighted that the Care Quality Commission has commended the excellent care our teams provide to patients and their relatives at the Wisdom Hospice.

“It was also wonderful to see recognised the fantastic support patients and relatives told CQC inspectors they receive at the hospice.
“I am proud of the care our teams give to local people both at the hospice and in the community.”

South East Health, a not-for-profit social enterprise, has been named as the new provider of nursing-led health services to offenders in the Sheppey group of prisons and to detainees at Dover Immigration Removal Centre. More

Kind-hearted Ray Ballard from the Isle of Sheppey has raised £1,500 to thank the specialist health team who cared for his father who suffered from heart failure.
Ray’s father, Peter Ballard was looked after by the community cardiology team at Medway Community Healthcare until he passed away in 2010. More

Temperatures are forecast to fall in the next couple of weeks and the NHS is urging people to take steps to stay well and help stop the spread of infection this winter.

Washing your hands both regularly and well is the single most important thing you can do to prevent illnesses, such as tummy bugs and flu. More

Doctors are urging patients in Medway at risk of flu complications to have their free NHS vaccination this winter.
Free flu vaccinations are available at GP practices for:
• Everyone over 65
• All pregnant women
• Everyone over six months with serious long-term health problems, such as chronic respiratory, heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease, diabetes or a weakened immune system due to disease or treatment
• People who are the main carer for an older or disabled person.
Dr Nathan Nathan, Clinical Chair for Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Flu can be very serious for some people which is why the NHS offers free vaccination to those who are most at risk of complications. More

Did you know that community pharmacies offer many more services than most people realise? Health checks for blood pressure and cholesterol, treatment for minor ailments from coughs and colds to tummy bugs, help with allergies, weight management and stopping smoking, personalised medicines advice and much much more.

As part of Ask Your Pharmacist Week (5-12 November), Medway Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging people to make use of the wide range of services and advice available at their community pharmacy – it really is more than just a place to pick up pills!

Across Kent and Medway, there are 314 pharmacies in towns and villages. Many pharmacies are open late – some until 11pm at night – and at weekends, and you don’t need an appointment. By visiting your pharmacist instead of going to your GP surgery or Accident and Emergency (A & E), you will be seen quickly. It’s a much more convenient alternative and keeps other NHS services such as A & E, available for people with serious and life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Community pharmacists are knowledgeable healthcare professionals who are accessible to everyone. They offer expert, confidential advice and treatment and can also support people to self-care, helping you to manage a long-term health condition, such as asthma or arthritis. If you regularly take prescription medicine, you can ask for a medicines use review to identify any problems and check your medication is working for you.

A number of pharmacies across Kent and Medway will, within the next month, provide specialist in-store services and expert advice, branded as a ‘Healthy Living Pharmacy.’ Kent and Medway has become one of 20 successful national pathfinder sites to offer people an extended healthy living service for issues such as alcohol consumption, sexual health and dietary advice.

Medway Clinical Commissioning Group is also reaching out to men this November, to take a more active interest in their medicines and well-being and to talk to their local pharmacist about some of the healthcare services they may need. More

Are you interested in healthcare? Do you want to help shape NHS services for everyone in Medway?
An exciting opportunity is available for two independent Lay Members to join the governing body of Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, which is preparing to take over commissioning NHS services in Medway from April next year. More

AN NHS consultation on plans to improve care for people suffering a mental health crisis has been launched.

Around 3,000 people in Kent and Medway with a serious mental health problem experience a crisis every year and need urgent treatment. A crisis is used to describe someone who may be experiencing delusions, hallucinations or be very distressed. More

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