A new film and podcast produced by Healthwatch Essex has shed light on the issue of frailty and the importance of an increasingly elderly population maintaining their health as they grow older.
The work has been commissioned by the Essex Success Regime, which is looking to reconfigure health and care services in mid and south Essex over the coming years. The Success Regime will implement a range of measures including reducing expenditure on agency staff, alleviating pressure on emergency services and ensuring that the health and care system has a sustainable financial balance.
Understanding future challenges and how they might be addressed is key to the work of the Success Regime, so one of the pieces of work they have asked Healthwatch Essex to undertake is to produce a series of films and podcasts that look at those issues.
Dr David Sollis, Engagement Manager at Healthwatch Essex, said, “Of course it is important that the Success Regime looks to make our health and care systems more efficient and patient focused, not to mention financially viable.
“But we also need to look at the major issues that impact on the health of the people of Essex. Frailty is a huge challenge for a growing number of people and looking to find ways to encourage those people to understand their frailty and remain fit and active has the potential to make a significant impact.
“While it may be a hackneyed cliché, prevention really is better than cure – both for the individual and for the healthcare system.”
Healthwatch Essex works to evidence the ‘lived experience’ of the people of Essex and so went out into the community last month to talk about frailty. Filming at Canvey Fit Health and Fitness Club they spoke to older people who regularly exercised in an effort to fend off the potential effects of becoming frailer.
The film provides a fascinating insight into both the concerns that people have around becoming older and also the capacity to take control of their wellbeing. As well as discussing the issues, it also provides an inspiration to others who may not be taking steps to look after themselves.
Many of the those featured have significant health issues including replacement joints and a stent fitted following a heart attack, as well as long-term conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The film comes hot on the heels of a podcast on the same subject that features an ‘honest conversation’ about frailty involving a GP, a patient, a Programme Director from the Success Regime and the Chief Executive for Age UK Essex.