World Hospice and Pallative Care Day

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. Voices for Hospices is a wave of concerts taking place on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day every two years. This years theme is LIVING AND DYING IN PAIN: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN. A concept we fully agree with when we work with those who even at the end of their lives want to still live their life to the full without pain and their independence intact.

When does World Hospice and Palliative Care Day take place?

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day takes place on the second Saturday of October every year and Voices for Hospices takes place on the same date every two years. The next World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is on October 8th 2016 but you’ll have to wait till next year for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day with Voices for Hospice will be held October 14th in 2017.

What are the aims of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

  1. To share a vision to increase the availability of hospice and palliative care throughout the world by creating opportunities to speak out about the issues
  2. To raise awareness and understanding of the needs – medical, social, practical, spiritual – of people living with a life limiting illness and their families
  3. To raise funds to support and develop hospice and palliative care services around the world

Who organises World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is organised by a committee of the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, a network of hospice and palliative care national and regional organisations that support the development of hospice and palliative care worldwide.

What can you do to get involved?

There are many things you can do during and in the days leading up to World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. Visit the WHPCA website for full details and resources.



International Day of Older Persons 2016

Take a Stand Against Ageism

‘Take a stand against ageism’ is this years mantra for International day of older persons. For older people, ageism is an everyday challenge. Older people are overlooked for employment, restricted from social services and stereotyped in the media. Ageism marginalises and excludes older people in their communities and society as a whole. When it comes to your older years, the time should be spent enjoying life to the max not being sheltered away and left to rot.

Ageism is everywhere, yet is the most socially normalised of any prejudice.

  • Older persons are portrayed in the media as senile, clumsy, uncooperative, “not with it”, “batty” and not independent.
  • Doctors avoid screening for preventable diseases and use care guidelines for younger people not thinking about the needs of the elderly.
  • Government policy does not strategise for investment in infrastructure for the needs of ageing populations.
  • Employers will disregard older applicants even though they have a wealth of knowledge and are more likely to stay in the role.
  • Companies design products and services based on younger markets and ignore the vast demographic of older persons whose buying power is just as great if not greater then the youth of today.

All of these issues build up to marginalise older persons within our society and WHO’s International Day of Older Persons is there to highlight the issues the older generation faces and help combat the endemic ageism in countries across the world. This year, the World Health Organization adopted the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health and a related resolution at the 69th World Health Assembly, in which the WHO Director-General is called on to lead a Global Campaign to Combat Ageism, to support local and international partners in their efforts to change policies and practices.

Read more about the day on WHOs website or read their mission statement here.


Green Prescriptions & the Impact of an Allotment on Health

There has been a new wave of thinking when it comes to visiting the doctor and health. GPs in the UK can now prescribe so called ‘green prescriptions’ which advises patients to attend leisure centres, parks or start gardening. This new type of social and medical care is primarily there to encourage exercise and reduce the strain on NHS services from preventable illness and diseases caused by the obesity epidemic.

The prescriptions could provide free visits to national parks or gardening sessions at National Trust properties, match patients up directly with a leisure centre and on to fitness courses. There are already trials of these ‘social prescribing schemes’ in Devon, Dorset and Liverpool, with hopes for more across the country.  However, The Royal College of General Practitioners’ Spokesman Dr Steve Mowle said: “Social prescribing schemes can certainly be beneficial to a patient’s overall health and wellbeing – as some pilots have shown – but to be effective, there needs to be better integration between health and community services, so that GPs and our teams can signpost our patients most appropriately.”

Patients can be recommended to allotment and gardening groups where the benefits to both physical and mental health are extraordinary. In The contribution of allotment gardening to health and wellbeing: A systematic review of the literature , findings showed “Allotment gardening provides a stress-relieving refuge, contributes to a healthier lifestyle, creates social opportunities, provides valued contact with nature, and enables self-development.”

Information from NHS Choices indicates that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

With all these benefits, maybe it is time you picked up your pitch fork and get digging!

Further Reading

The contribution of allotment gardening to health and wellbeing: A systematic review of the literature

The Impact of an Allotment Group on Mental Health Clients’ Health, Wellbeing and Social Networking

Doctors urged to offer ‘exercise outdoors’ prescriptions – BBC

Green prescription needed to tackle ‘cradle to grave’ health crisis – National Health Executive

Benefits of regular exercise – NHS Choices