Carers UK have welcomed the government’s decision to drop plans of moving carers off income support pending a longer-term review.
Instead, the white paper said the government would not attempt to move carers off income support until it had a “clear and detailed plan”.
In this year’s carers strategy, ministers pencilled in a review of the benefits system for 2011 onwards.
But the chief executive of Carers UK doesn’t think this is good enough saying… ‘We cannot wait for government reforms to welfare and social care to be completed before tackling carers’ benefits. Three-quarters of carers are struggling to pay essential bills and more than half are in debt. Many want to work but can’t because of a lack of flexible and affordable care services.’
The only nurse led stroke research unit in the UK has received £1.2m from the Department of Health to research new ways of assessing and managing urinary incontinence after a celebral event.
The money will be used by the University of Central Lancashires clinical practice research unit to coordinate the Indentifying Continence Options after Stroke (ICONS) project, which aims through research to increase the number of stroke survivors with urinary incontience to become continent again.
Lead researcher Caroline Watkins, a professor of stroke and older peoples care at the unit said, “ultimately this could improve patients lives significantly, most importantly because it could restore their dignity”
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After Christina MacLeod gave birth to her daughter 8 years ago, she noticed that whenever she ran or jumped on a trampoline, she’d experience an embarrassing result.
Ms MacLeod said: ‘I would find myself with a bit of incontinence. I took a running clinic and the instructor said that if you have problems with urinary, you’re good to go. It was never talked about beyond that.’
During a check-up with her doctor, she was asked if the incontinence was a regular occurrence. When she answered yes, Christina was referred to the Pelvic Floor Clinic at the Women’s Health Centre, a division of the Foothills Hospital.
MacLeod was later treated for a weak pelvic floor, which can occur in any woman’s life, despite activity level, hormonal health or even if she hasn’t given birth.
‘I thought it was just something you lived with. When you actually tell your friends, they just smile, laugh and say, ‘me too.’ It’s so common.’
Contributors to incontinence include obesity, smoking, high caffeine intake, chronic constipation or even sitting at a desk all day. Clinical nurse specialist with the clinic, says although they see so many patients, there are many more that need help, but just don’t see it as a problem they should ask their GP about.
She says: ‘I think it’s because women are simply not told about this. We’re told about our bones and breasts. Most family doctors really don’t talk about the importance of these muscles. It’s just so personal.’
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A new study reveals more women have the condition urinary incontinence than you might think, but are just too embarrassed to talk about it.
Kristin Graham, 24, could not sit through an hour-long class because she couldn’t control her bladder, having to urgently rush to the bathroom every 30 minutes.
She said: ‘I would dehydrate myself all day long in preparation of going somewhere, so I wouldn’t have to embarrass myself and always ask to excuse myself to the bathroom.’
Graham was so embarrassed by her incontinence that she didn’t even want to tell her doctor.
Incontinence affects 10% of women in their 20s and 30s, 27% of women in their 40s and 50s, 37% of women in their 60s and 70s and half of women aged 80 or older.
Dr. Sotelo says: ‘Usually, in the past, people have been embarrassed to talk about it but there’s a lot of things we can do about it now (such as) non-surgical and surgical options.’
Kristin Graham has tried a number of medications, but nothing had worked until her urologist at George Washington Hospital inserted a device that provides electrical stimulation to the nerve that controls her bladder. Now, she only has to take bathroom breaks every two hours, which she says, has completely changed her life.
Miss Graham says: ‘It’s been a huge difference and it feels really good to not have that embarrassing problem anymore.’
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According Carers UK, half of all carers are cutting back on food to make ends meet. A study reveals that 52% of carers are making cut backs on food compared to 19% in 2007.
More than half of carers asked are now in debt as a result of caring, compared to a third last year and many carers said they were resorting to borrowing.
Nearly two thirds said they were spending their own income or savings to pay for care for the person they look after.
The Carers UK chief executive, said: ‘Many struggle – day in, day out – to provide care for someone they love who is disabled or ill and have found they have no choice but to give up work in order to care.’
‘We must support them more and not force them into financial hardship as a result of their caring role.’
She also added: ‘There has never been a more important time to find out what financial help you might be entitled to.’
Carers from across the UK are planning on going to Parliament to lobby MPs and demand more help from the Government this week.
The exceptional achievements of women in Wales were celebrated at an awards ceremony in Cardiff last week.
11 women were honoured for their inspirational work across a wide range of sectors at the Western Mail Welsh Woman of the Year Awards at Cardiff International.
Gaynor Morgan is said to be proud the product has improved the quality of life for many women with incontinence and has the potential to save the NHS millions a year.
The former psychiatric geriatric nurse also holds focus groups for women around Europe, encouraging them to seek help, and teach them about their bodies’ reactions.