Published on behalf of our partners at NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Public Health Doncaster.
Every winter, we see an increase in the number of people that need to be admitted to hospital.
Our older people can be the most vulnerable when they develop minor illness such as the common cold, this can prompt additional needs and significantly impact on their frailty. This is especially true in those who have existing chronic conditions, such as chronic bronchitis.
The cold weather and viral infections such as the flu often lead to deterioration in normal activities with patients needing more care and support than usual.
Flu is highly infectious and spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus. Some groups such as pregnant women, young children, over 65’s and those who have existing medical conditions are particularly vulnerable. And because it is caused by a virus and not bacteria, antibiotics won’t help.
This week, the winter campaign has a focus on looking out for and supporting older and vulnerable people, something hugely important during winter.
By taking simple steps such as helping out elderly family or neighbours, wearing more layers to keep warm, keeping our homes heated to at least 18°C and being prepared for colder weather, we can help each other to stay safe. There’s lots of useful information on the CCG website to help you and others keep warm and stay as well as possible during winter.
If you know or support older and vulnerable people, please do all you can to help them. We know that there are thousands of carers in Doncaster that do a fantastic job in caring for or supporting people in many different ways. And hopefully, our message today will help recognise their important work and encourage others to look out for others during winter.
There are over 1,500 community groups listed on the Your Life Doncaster websitethat all provide support and advice for local residents. One of these is Age UK Doncaster who host a range of volunteer programmes all year round to provide support to elderly and vulnerable people to help keep their independence and prevent social isolation.
Almost 80 people in Doncaster actively volunteer with Age UK to support and keep older and vulnerable people active and their work is vital. Even if it is just having a conversation or popping in to check someone is well, this can make all the difference. If you would like to get involved in this important local service, please visit the Age UK Doncaster website.
So our message to everyone is simple. If you know someone who is frail, elderly or has an existing health problem and they are feeling unwell, encourage them to seek early advice; go to their local pharmacy or phone their GP practice before the issue escalates and their health deteriorates.
Help us help you and others stay well this winter.
Read more information about the Doncaster winter 2018 campaign.