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What do Mick Jagger’s gyrating hips tell us about the future of healthcare?

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2 July, 2013

The sight of Mick Jagger jumping around on the Glastonbury stage just a few days short of his 70th birthday was a clear demonstration of the changing demography in the UK. The Stones’ drummer was even older at 72 but he, of course, was sitting down.

Tom Jones is another example of how people are staying younger longer. Aged 73, he looked in good health and at ease on the recent series of The Voice. So yes it’s clear that people do live longer and in better health than they did when Mick first hit the stage 50 years ago and when Tom Jones first sang the Green Green Grass of Home

The number of people living beyond 75 is going to significantly increase and will present a challenge to heathcare. Although it would be great if he could, I think unfortunately Mick is unlikely to be able to repeat his Glastonbury performance in 10 years’ time at the age of 80.

People are living longer but as they age they will be prone to more ill health and will put pressure on current services. We must not miss the chance to prepare for the complexity of care that this group will present to nurses.

Particularly beyond the age of 80, people tend to have raft of interlocking comorbid conditions. Managing and supporting their care often means solving a crossword puzzle of symptoms and issues. This challenge requires skilled staff who have experience and training in older person’s care.

Those responsible for training nurses and other health professionals must guarantee that those caring for our aging population, including our rock stars, are properly prepared and have the range of skills that they need.

Readers' comments (11)

  • The difference between Mick Jagger and me?

    Money......it makes a huge difference epsecially here in the UK

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  • "Although it would be great if he could, I think unfortunately Mick is unlikely to be able to repeat his Glastonbury performance in 10 years’ time at the age of 80."

    why? the oldest contenstant in the Eurovision song contest was in his 90s.

    why is always assumed that the elderly are old and decrepid and have health problems. there are many who are healthy, fit and active who never go near the health services.

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  • tinkerbell

    Will we need more research on drugs, sex, rock n' roll working well for some.

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  • Yes ! ----but should Mick be unlucky enough to suffer an illness/accident an ignorant NHS "nurse" will descend upon him armed with a mountain of paper work , Mental Health quiz and a slew of "risk" assessments!

    Treatment and care is a secondary consideration to the paperwork -------once that is completed "care" for an elderly person such as Mick , will, of course, be delegated to the "care" assistant !

    Think about it !

    Am I exaggerating the appalling care many old people are subjected to by "nurses" and the NHS?

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  • Anonymous | 3-Jul-2013 10:43 am

    Am I exaggerating the appalling care many old people are subjected to by "nurses" and the NHS?


    Sadly, no you are not. I speak from first hand experience.

    Far too much reliance on totally unneccessary care plans and not enough basic monitoring. Fluid balance and MEWS observations are far more important than the written down detail of how I am going to give a patient a shower.

    The addition of rounding charts are also detracting from the charting of more important information.

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  • patients have had care-plans for years, they are nothing new.
    fluid charts are only as good as the person filling them in, need I say more, does anywhere except critical care ever really have accurate charts?
    Not all patients require regular MEWS, this is a clinical decision.
    There are excellent nurses (and other staff) looking after elderly patients.
    What about non elderly patients - do they all receive better care? those with mental health problems, substance abuse, STDs, homelessness, overseas patients - there are lots and lots of people use the NHS these days.
    Not all elderly people are decrepit, have numerous illnesses and need social services.

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  • 'What do Mick Jagger’s gyrating hips tell us about the future of healthcare?' The question would not be asking 'what generalisations can we make from one untypical case study?' would it?

    Kathryn Godfrey's posting raises some sensible issues including a greater emphasis on preparing health staff working with the older person to expect variations in needs and abilities. However, it would be good to see not only greater evidence that this will take place, but also more emphasis on structuring health services and finances to follow through on this aim.

    The numbers in this group have not suddenly appeared - it is no surprise; the demographics have been there for a long time, but the service designers and those managing budgets for health services do not seem to have taken much notice. Things need to be put in place to ensure we provide early responses to their needs before these increase and result in greater needs.

    Let's take this issue seriously and do something about it.

    In the meantime, let's consider evidence relating to the whole group, rather than pick on one untypical example to guide thinking.

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  • At least when you get to 70, the nurses will be the same age and have empathy

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  • Anonymous | 3-Jul-2013 3:20 pm

    Might be an idea to look around at the culture, systems and mechanisms which contribute to poor care in any setting. Simply placing the entire blame at the feet of nurses is lazy, simplistic, inaccurate and ignorant.

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  • Anonymous | 6-Jul-2013 9:47 am

    Exactly. And all too easy.

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  • If more people jiggled about like Jagger and Jones then I'd be out of a job.

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