Carers who support people over 60 can help avoid additional pressure on themselves and the NHS urgent and emergency care system this winter according to South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the GP-led organisation that funds local health services.
Most carers are already stretched by the demands of their young and elderly family’s needs, a situation that can be made even more difficult by illness. In the over- 60s a minor illness can get worse quickly in a cold snap. A bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat can rapidly develop into something more serious.
South Lincolnshire CCG is urging carers to seek early advice from local pharmacists in order to avoid the need for urgent or emergency care later on.
Dr Kevin Hill, Chair of NHS South Lincolnshire CCG, said:
“Carers do important and invaluable work and it is vital that they understand how a minor illness can develop into something more serious in older people, quickly. NHS research has revealed that many do not want to seek help for what they perceive to be a minor illness because they feel it would be inappropriate or a waste of time for a pharmacist or other healthcare professional.
“There’s no such thing as wasting your pharmacist’s time. Your pharmacist wants to help; local pharmacists are a highly trained and trusted source of health advice. Particularly when temperatures are falling, they can help you manage long-term conditions or even help with immediate relief for bad coughs, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat. They can also advise on self-care at home before the condition becomes serious. Pharmacists often have longer opening hours than GP practices, you don’t need an appointment to see one and most have a consultation area when you can speak privately. They’ll also tell you if they think you should see a GP.”
If you are visiting or caring for an elderly relative or friend who is under the weather, your local pharmacist is happy to help or you can get advice from www.nhs.uk/asap to help manage their care. Early advice is the best advice.