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The big change coming to Medicare that will affect you

<p>The Government has announced that Medicare rebates for knee MRIs ordered by GPs for anyone over the age of 50 will cease from November 1 of this year.</p> <p>This means the patient will be hit in the hip pocket for $500 per scan, or have to wait months to see a specialist, reported <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/health/there-will-be-no-medicare-rebates-when-gps-order-knee-mris-for-the-over-50s-from-november-1/news-story/7722858e2037b8aafc94a5cc6277573d?utm_content=SocialFlow&amp;login=1" target="_blank">The Daily Telegraph</a></em>.</p> <p>The cost of knee MRIs to tax payers had increased dramatically according to a Medicare review conducted by the Government, more than doubling from $16 million to $38 million over five years. It found that knee MRIs had tripled in that time.</p> <p>Lobby group National Seniors has called the coming change “ageist”.</p> <p>“The idea of picking on people that are 50 does seem to be ageist to me,” Ian Henschke, National Seniors chief advocate told the publication.</p> <p>“How fair is it that a 49-year-old can get a rebate but a 50-year-old can’t?”</p> <p>Some prominent athletes have spoken out in agreement, saying that scrapping the rebate discriminates, and makes no sense at a time when older Australians are being encouraged to keep fit to stave off medical issues.</p> <p>“Like millions of Australians I do everything I can to keep fit as I get older, so it makes me angry that the Government is penalising me because of my age,” said former basketball champion Rachel Sporn, a three-time Olympic medallist who is 50 years old.</p> <p>“It seems completely contradictory that we’re constantly encouraging older Australians to stay healthy while, at the same time, we’re making access to critical healthcare harder and more expensive. It doesn’t make sense.”</p> <p>Wayne Schwass, the former Sydney Swan and North Melbourne premiership player, will celebrate his 50th milestone in November and has called the changes “ridiculous” and “farcical”.</p> <p>But those in regional areas could be hit the hardest, said Dr Siavash Eshaghi, president of the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association, who has called the removal of the Medicare MRI rebate “like an ageing tax for over 50s”.</p> <p>“It will be worse for people in regional areas who will be forced to wait in pain for an MRI until the next available appointment with the visiting specialist in their town or travel long distances at their own cost to get an appointment,” he said.</p> <p>But Dr Harry Nespolon, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, says that GPs may actually be ordering too many MRIs, but banning them for the over-50s would mean that GPs wouldn’t be able to order the tests for some who may need it most, like those who have injuries from an accident or sport.</p> <p>Furthermore, patients will be hit with two expensive visits to a specialist – for a referral and a review of their scan.</p> <p>“The impact of the measure should be reviewed to see if there are groups in the community who are adversely affected by the decision," Dr Nespolon said.</p> <p>The Medicare MRI ban for over-50s will affect around 80,000 Australians a year.</p> <p>Meanwhile over 9,400 Australians have signed a petition protesting the changes.</p> <p>What do you think about this Medicare rebate change? Let us know in the comments section.  </p>

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Woman's touching act of kindness for stranger after losing baby

<p>A US supermarket employee has told of a moving encounter he had with a customer, posting about the experience on Facebook, which has drawn an emotional response from users of the platform.</p> <p>Nick DeClemente was working at Publix supermarket in Jacksonville, Florida, when a woman approached him at the bakery counter.</p> <p>“A lady just came up to the bakery counter and asked if we had any 1st birthday cakes on order for Saturday or Sunday. She said she wanted to pay for one,” he wrote in his post.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnick.declemente%2Fposts%2F1849337795163510&amp;width=500" width="500" height="530" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>But the cake was for someone else, a complete stranger she may never meet. The woman had had a stillborn baby boy a year ago, and wanted to make a tribute to him in his memory. She wanted to pay for the cake anonymously.</p> <p>“I asked what the customer name was, thinking she was paying for a specific person,” wrote DeClemente. “She then started to tear up and tell me that she had a stillborn child a year ago and in tribute to him she wanted to pay for someone else's cake.”</p> <p>On Facebook, DeClemente posted an order form for a Sesame Street “smash cake” for a 1st birthday that he chose for the woman to buy. Beside it is a receipt for $US33 ($AU46).</p> <p>“She told me thank you and appreciated that I let her do this,” he said. “It was probably one of the most touching things I've seen in all my years working in retail.”</p> <p>DeClemente’s post provoked some heart-warming comments from Facebook users.</p> <p>“Speechless and teary-eyed!” wrote one person.</p> <p>And this from another, “Wow. As a momma to three miscarriage angels, this both warms my heart and breaks it at the same time. Sending her all the love and prayers in the world.”</p> <p>DeClemente said he hoped the stranger’s act of kindness would prove cathartic for her.</p> <p>“I hope that this lady finds peace through this tribute and that the customer receiving this gift will, if nothing else, pay it forward,” he wrote.</p> <p>What acts of kindness have you witnessed? Let us know in the comments section.</p>

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CHOICE reveals best and worst toilet cleaning products

<p>For a pristine bathroom, it is important that homeowners know the handy cleaning products that will cut their scrubbing time in half.</p> <p>Now, Australian consumer advocacy group CHOICE has made the job easier by testing 31 toilet cleaning products. </p> <p>CHOICE discovered some surprising results and pinpointed the popular products that perform no better than water.</p> <p>“Anything that makes cleaning your toilet quicker and easier will be a welcome addition to any bathroom,” CHOICE said.</p> <p>“But toilet cleaners aren't all created equal – the best ones can remove stubborn stains as well as particle matter, but the bad ones are worse than not using anything at all. We've tested the top toilet cleaners to tell you what works and what doesn't.”</p> <p>Out of the 31 products tested, ALDI's $2.19 Power Force Bright &amp; Clean Oxy Thick Toilet Gel was voted the best, receiving a score of 75 per cent.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="/media/7821362/image_.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f5d5968584c24f119fd696a7ebb40544" /></p> <p>Also finishing with a score of 75 per cent was Janola Power Clean Toilet Bleach Gel ($4.50) and White King Premium Bleach ($2.49).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="/media/7821363/image_.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/bdd5e3568226400684a2dbc5a02c3d79" /></p> <p>Closely behind on 70 per cent was Strike Bleach Toilet Gel ($2.30), Janola Power Clean Toilet Bleach Gel Ultra Strength ($3.50) and One Shot Thick Concentrated Acidic Toilet Bowl Cleaner ($11.99).</p> <p>Next on the ladder on 65 per cent was White King Toilet Gel Power Clean 5 in 1 ($3.30) and Bref 10x Effect Toilet Gel – Ultra White ($2.50).</p> <p>White King Double Strength Toilet Power Gel ($3.95) and Domestos Thick Original ($5.50) scored 60 per cent.</p> <p>CHOICE also discovered the products that performed no better than water.</p> <p>The products that were found to be the worst on 40 per cent were Harpic Fresh Power, Woolworths Essentials Toilet Cleaner, Coles Toilet Cleaner and Coles Ultra Toilet Gel.</p> <p>Which toilet cleaning product do you use? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

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Why you need to have a better understanding of your gut

<p>With almost 2 in 3 Australian adults overweight or obese, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is significantly increasing in our nation.</p> <p>While most people are aware that type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin, and gradually loses the ability to produce enough of it, most Aussies are unaware of the condition called prediabetes.</p> <p>Prediabetes, the early condition that precedes type 2 diabetes, requires medical attention and is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers.</p> <p>Nearly 40% of Australians may be living with prediabetes, but it does not necessarily have to progress into type 2 diabetes if managed appropriately.</p> <p>Dr Dorit Samocha-Bonet, a Clinical Researcher at the <a href="https://www.garvan.org.au/support-us/predict-research/help-fund-crucial-clinical-trials-to-help-prediabetic-australians/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=link&amp;utm_campaign=predict2018"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Garvan Institute of Medical Research</strong></span></a>, within the <span>Diabetes and Metabolism Division</span>, has over 20 years of experience as a dietician. She believes new research into gut microbiome could be the key to <span>managing </span>prediabetes and stopping Aussies living the rest of their lives with type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>“If caught early, we can reverse prediabetes and prevent years of suffering for millions of people,” she said.</p> <p>When asked of the dangers of not having prediabetes diagnosed, Dr Samocha-Bonet said: “Well, the danger is firstly, that if prediabetes is not treated it may <span>progress to </span>type 2 diabetes <span>with </span><span>detrimental</span><span> consequences of </span><span>the elevated</span><span> blood sugar on the body</span>,” she explained. </p> <p>“Prediabetes is reversible if you’re aware and treated, and type 2 diabetes can be avoided for life, even if you have a strong family history of the disease.”</p> <p>And now, research from the Garvan Institute is looking to understand the role gut bacterial makeup <span>ha</span><span>s</span><span> on the potential of a common type 2 diabetes medication to be effective</span><span> in an individual</span>.</p> <p><strong>How can gut bacteria help? </strong></p> <p><span> </span>“Through understanding the unique microbiome in each of our guts, we can apply tailored treatments for better results.”</p> <p><span>Dorit’s study collaborators, t</span>wo researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, a partner of the Garvan Institute, found that people respond differently to the same dietary recommendation.</p> <p>Using a device to track sugar levels<span> continuously for days</span>, the researchers were able to compare <span>blood sugar response </span><span>to the same food given to </span>people who were <span>of </span><span>similar </span>body mass index and age.  What they found was not what you would expect.</p> <p>When given a food like a cookie compared to a piece of fruit with the same amount of carbohydrates, some people’s sugar levels would spike after the cookie more than the fruit (as you may expect), while others’ sugar level would spike more for the fruit than the cookie.</p> <p> “And then they looked for the differences between those people and they actually found that a lot of it could be explained by their individual gut microbiota features.”</p> <p>“So, the discovery that the way you respond to a specific meal relates to your gut microbiota composition was revolutionary. The fact that you can treat people to their gut microbiota signature is still astounding,” Dr Samocha-Bonet said.</p> <p><strong>Garvan’s breakthrough research </strong></p> <p>Now, Garvan wants to trial whether this personalised diet may improve the response of people with prediabetes and early type 2 diabetes to a common diabetes medication. </p> <p>“We are going to trial this diet for the first time in people treated with the first-line medication in type 2 diabetes, called <span>metformin</span>. We are hoping to improve the way people respond to this medication.”</p> <p>The study, called PREDICT, will measure treatment success by comparing patterns of <span>sugar </span>levels in the blood before and <span>during </span>the treatment.</p> <p>One of the goals of the research is to understand who is more likely to benefit from this most commonly prescribed type 2 diabetes medication, which does not improve sugar control in everybody.</p> <p>“We want to come up with a tool to help clinicians in deciding how they’re going to treat a person. When a person has diabetes we still don’t know whether they’re likely to respond to a specific treatment, so we want to be able to give the clinician tools that are easily accessible, to decide how they’re going to treat people most beneficially for better <span>health </span>outcomes.”</p> <p>“<span>Optimal treatment for a given individual will translate to </span><span>better prospects to </span>avoid the complications of type 2 diabetes. Helping the physician treat the person with diabetes more effectively for better disease outcome.”</p> <p><strong>How you can support the research </strong></p> <p>Contributing funds to organisations like the Garvan Institute is a good way to start, and you’ll be surprised how far your dollar goes.</p> <p>As Dr Samocha-Bonet explains, funding will provide necessary resources to perform the clinical trial involving sufficient number of participants and using gold-standard tools to phenotype people properly.</p> <p>“Together with our collaborators, we hope to benefit people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, not only in Australia but all over the world.”</p> <p>To contribute to the Garvan Institute’s fight against prediabetes and type 2 <span>diabetes</span>, visit <a href="https://www.garvan.org.au/support-us/predict-research/help-fund-crucial-clinical-trials-to-help-prediabetic-australians/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=link&amp;utm_campaign=predict2018"><strong><u>garvan.org.au</u></strong></a>.</p> <p>THIS IS SPONSORED CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE <a href="https://www.garvan.org.au/support-us/predict-research/help-fund-crucial-clinical-trials-to-help-prediabetic-australians/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=link&amp;utm_campaign=predict2018"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>GARVAN INSTITUTE</strong></span></a>.</p>

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Australian cricket legend Matthew Hayden rushed to hospital after freak accident

<p>Former Australian Test cricketer Matthew Hayden was rushed to hospital after a nasty surfing accident last week, which caused the fracturing of his neck and head lacerations.</p> <p>In a post on his Instagram account, the former opening batsman was almost unrecognisable due to his injuries, as he lay pictured in a neck brace, and revealing his neck and head injuries, as well as a black eye. </p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BooQT4wgIz4/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BooQT4wgIz4/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">Ok. Last attention seeking post I promise. Just wanted to say a big thank you to all our mates on Straddie who have been so supportive.✅🏄🏽‍♂️🙏 Especially Ben &amp; Sue Kelley for the fast diagnosis with MRI, CT scan. Fractured C6, torn C5,C4 ligaments safe to say I truly have dodged a bullet. Thank you everyone ❤️ On the road to recovery 🏄🏽‍♂️🎣</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/haydos359/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank"> Matthew Hayden</a> (@haydos359) on Oct 7, 2018 at 3:44am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Hayden said he had hit his head on a sandbank while surfing with his son Josh on a family holiday in Stradbroke Island in Queensland on Friday.</p> <p>“Took on Straddie back bank yesterday with @josh_hayden28 and lost!!! Game over for a few days,” he wrote.</p> <p>The cricket legend acknowledged he “truly dodged a bullet” with the freak accident, referring to a brush with breaking his neck, and thanked everyone who had come to his rescue.</p> <p>“Ok. Last attention seeking post I promise. Just wanted to say a big thank you to all our mates on Straddie who have been so supportive,” he wrote. “Especially Ben &amp; Sue Kelley for the fast diagnosis with MRI, CT scan. Fractured C6, torn C5, C4 ligaments. Safe to say I truly have dodged a bullet. Thank you everyone. On the road to recovery.”</p> <p>During his 15-year cricket career, <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.matthewhayden.com/the-cricketer/" target="_blank">Hayden </a>racked up 103 matches, 8600 runs and 30 centuries in Test cricket. He retired from Test cricket in 2009.</p>

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Should you let your cat sleep in your bed?

<p><strong><em>Dr. Bethany Richards is a cat lover working at </em></strong><span><strong><em><a href="https://southerncrossvet.com.au/">Southern Cross Vet</a></em></strong></span><strong><em> and the principal vet for </em></strong><span><strong><em><a href="http://lions-den.com.au/">The Lion’s Den</a></em></strong></span><strong><em>. In her spare time, Beth cares for her foster kittens Gracie &amp; Neko and her Golden Retriever, Archie.</em></strong></p> <p>Cats love sleeping in beds. Beds contain two things that cats love – warmth and their owner. Deciding whether or not your cat will sleep on the bed should be done before you get the cat. Once your cat has started sleeping in your bed it will be almost impossible to break the habit.</p> <p><strong>Risks of letting your cat sleep in your bed</strong></p> <p><strong>1. Disrupted sleep:</strong> Sleep is a hot commodity in the modern world. Cats will sleep for 15 hours a day, but unlike humans they aren’t fussy about when this sleep is. Some cats are night owls and might decide to move around on the bed in the night, waking you up.</p> <p><strong>2. Parasites: </strong>Fleas and mites do not live long on humans but can still bite us and cause irritation. Before you decide to let your cat sleep in your bed, make sure he/she is on regular flea control.</p> <p><strong>3. Bacterial and fungal Infection:</strong> Prolonged exposure to bacteria and fungi on cats can put some people at risk of bacterial and fungal skin infection. Those people most at risk are those with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, the very young or those undergoing cancer treatment. Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that can affect both cats and healthy people. Most cats do not have ringworm, but if your cat is diagnosed with this condition then you should not sleep with them in the bed.</p> <p><strong>4. Cat allergies</strong>: People who are allergic to cats should not sleep with cats.</p> <p><strong>5. Harm to or from young children:</strong> Very young children or babies can be at risk of accidental smothering if a cat is allowed in the crib. Young children should never be left unsupervised with cats as they can be too rough with the cat, possibly leading to bites and scratches.</p> <p><strong>Risks of NOT letting your cat sleep in your bed</strong></p> <p><strong>1. A disappointed cat banging on the door:</strong> Not letting a determined cat sleep on the bed might be more trouble than it is worth. Your cat might make a lot of noise in the night attempting to get into your room, which can disrupt your sleep.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 500px;" src="/media/7821142/1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/59bed7be2ca04c5996fab0e792bb0f50" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Dr. Beth's cat Gracie sleeps on her bed</em></p> <p><strong>2. Cold bed</strong>: Cats are warm and make perfect soft hot water bottles in winter.</p> <p>At the end of the day, the decision of whether or not the cat sleeps in the bed is often not made by the owner, but by the cat</p>

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Supporting you at home: How to find the best services for you or your family

<p>Ageing is a natural process for everyone. As people age, some day-to-day activities, such as picking up the heavy groceries or maintaining the garden may become a bit difficult. But with the right support system, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Whether it’s a little bit of support or a lot, if you feel that you’re not able to take care of yourself like you used to, or you know someone who needs a bit more assistance to help get things done, in-home care is an option to explore.</p> <p>According to the <span><a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australia-at-a-glance/contents/service-use/aged-care">Australian Institute of Health and Welfare</a></span>, in 2017, over 720,000 people aged 65 and over received in-home support services. And the number is growing per year as an increasing number of older people are finding the service useful when it comes to supporting them at home and out in the community.</p> <p>With the introduction of Consumer Directed Care, whereby you as the customer have more choice and control over your services and who provides them, you are now able to get support in the comfort of your own home.</p> <p>In-home aged care allows you to live an independent life at home and within your community, and gives you the ability to seek help for everyday tasks such as meal preparation, respite support, help around the home, social support, and much more.</p> <p>Here are just a few reasons why you or your family should choose in-home aged care and the benefits you can receive to assist your lifestyle and wellbeing.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iLFjsv0hRBk" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>1. A change in social environment</strong></p> <p>As we age, getting out of the house can become more strenuous, but staying on your own for long periods can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Everyone needs companionship and someone to talk to. According to <a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/older-people">beyondblue</a> depression can be common among the older population. In-home aged care helps to support people to increase their mental health.</p> <p>Organisations like <a href="http://justbettercare.com/services/social-lifestyle-support"><span>Just Better Care </span></a>want you to feel supported at all times so you can lead the life you want. They offer companionship support so you can attend or host social events with your friends and family. Support professionals will be there with you to provide the support you need before, during and after an event.</p> <p>Through companionship support, <span><a href="http://justbettercare.com/">Just Better Care</a></span> can also assist you in building your own networks and form new relationships with people who share similar interests to you, because it’s never too late to introduce new friendships into your life.</p> <p><strong>2. In-home nursing</strong></p> <p>It’s not easy taking care of yourself after a major operation or illness. Sometimes, you just need someone to take care of the day-to-day things for you, such as medication management, wound care, taking a shower, and maintaining a balanced diet. When you’re trying to recover, you need to let your body relax and heel. Whether it’s for yourself or for a loved one, having a trained nurse on hand is a great way to ensure optimal health and peace of mind.</p> <p>In-home nursing services provided by <a href="http://justbettercare.com/services/in-home-care"><span>Just Better Care</span></a> include assessment medication management, wound care, liaising with doctors and other health professionals, and so much more. It keeps the stress off your shoulders and gives you round-the-clock support when and where you need it.</p> <p><strong>3. Help around the home</strong></p> <p>As we get older, our bodies change and are not always able to perform certain tasks as well as they used to. Having assistance for daily household chores is an easy way to make a quick difference in your quality of life. In-home services help out with tasks such as laundry, making beds, changing linen and towels and general cleaning. And you’re provided with the flexibility of choosing how often you want to use those services.</p> <p>While everyone tries their best to be there for those who need help in their lives, with busy schedules, sometimes that’s just not possible. So, if you’re figuring out ways to make your life, or a family member’s, a little easier, then having help around the home is the first step. You would be surprised at how something so simple can have such a positive effect. With private package options, <span><a href="http://justbettercare.com/">Just Better Care</a></span> makes sure that you receive the support you need. There is nothing wrong with asking for a little help so you can focus on other activities you enjoy.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RW_wgX7qgb8" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>4. Disability support</strong></p> <p>In-home support is available for anyone who needs a helping hand at home or out in their community, so they can lead an independent lifestyle. You may have a family member that needs some assistance, or maybe you need some extra help with your daily activities. The good news is that there are support options available to build confidence in all areas of life.</p> <p>Disability support services provided by <a href="http://justbettercare.com/disability-support">Just Better Care</a> are tailored to suit the individual. You don’t need to fit in with what’s available, or with models that have been tailored to the majority. Some of the services include daily living assistance, social activities and connections, exercise and wellbeing, and helping around the home. Disability support gives people the chance to live their life to their fullest potential, and experience things they may have never imagined were possible.</p> <p>To find out more about in-home care and disability support, visit  <a href="https://local.justbettercare.com/"><span>Just Better Care</span></a>, to discuss your needs with the friendly team and find a suitable package that fits your or your loved one’s lifestyle.</p> <p>THIS IS SPONSORED CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU IN CONJUNCTION WITH <span><a href="http://justbettercare.com/">JUST BETTER CARE</a></span>.</p>

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Woman almost dies after taking cough medicine: "I flatlined completely"

<p>It’s the over-the-counter product that so many of have taken to help alleviate a cold. But for some, the combination of cough syrups and aesthetics can be potentially fatal.</p> <p>After Australian woman Narelle Campbell, 52, was given a general anaesthetic during an operation for an aneurism, she had a catastrophic allergic reaction after taking a cough medicine prior, reports <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/10/02/19/18/calls-for-cough-medicine-ingredient-to-be-banned-over-the-counter" target="_blank">9News</a></em>. Doctors had to break four ribs to bring her back to life.</p> <p>“I flatlined completely – I was gone,” Campbell said in an interview with <em>9News</em>.</p> <p>“The thing that surprises me is I went in there to have an operation for an aneurism and I actually died on the table because of cough medicine.”</p> <p>It happened because of the active ingredient pholcodine, an antitussive or cough-suppressing compound which <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/anaphylaxis-and-anaesthesia-can-treating-a-cough-kill" target="_blank">NPS Medicine Wise</a></em> says has been used in cough medicines since the 1950s. <span>It is banned in the US but alarmingly, it can be found in over 50 products in Australia, including household names like Benadryl, Difflam and Duro-Truss.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7821108/cough-medicine-products.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/49b2a1697fd14a3f8d56ff8c5e163ee2" /></p> <p>In 2015, Dr Michael Rose, Chairman of the Australian and New Zealand Anaesthetic Allergy Group (ANZAAG), told <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-29/anaesthetists-call-for-cough-medicine-restrictions/6055304" target="_blank"><em>ABC NEWS</em> </a>that the group was calling for products with the chemical to be made prescription-only.</p> <p>He said that some studies have found that pholcodine could create an antibody in a small proportion of people that causes an allergic reaction to some anaesthetics because of the muscle relaxants contained in them.</p> <p>Dr Paul McAleer of ANZAAG told <em>9News</em> that surgical anaphylaxis during anaesthesia causes over seven deaths every three years.</p> <p>“We believe pholcodine plays a part in de-sensitising some people to the effects of muscle relaxants in anaesthesia,” he said.</p> <p>Despite the deaths, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) believes there isn’t sufficient evidence to ban the chemical, after anaesthetists made the case to have cough medicines with pholcodine made prescription-only or banned altogether, in submissions in 2013 and 2015. After this latest case, they continue to lobby for tighter restrictions.</p> <p>The most compelling case for banning the drug was in Scandinavia, according to <em>ABC News</em>, with the startling contrast between surgical anaphylaxis between Norway and Sweden. Norway’s rate a decade ago was 10 times higher than Sweden’s. The use of pholcodine was high in Norway, but in Sweden it was banned.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F9NewsSydney%2Fvideos%2F479965202413028%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>"In 2007 the drug company that was manufacturing pholcodine in Norway voluntarily removed it from the market," explained Dr Rose.</p> <p>"And since that time the rate of allergic reactions to muscle relaxants has fallen and the rate of antibodies in the population has also fallen."</p> <p>Dr McAleer advises consumers to avoid products with pholcodine if they can.</p> <p>And if you’re having surgery, be sure to let the anaesthetist overseeing you know if you’ve had any antitussives leading up to admission to hospital.</p> <p>Do you have any of these cough syrups in your medicine cabinet at home? Tell us in the comments below.  </p>

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Anti-vaxxers target baby products in Big W

<p>A NSW mum shopping at Big W with her baby daughter made an unpleasant discovery in the baby section after anti-vaccination material typed on stickers were stuck on several products.</p> <p>Speaking to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.kidspot.com.au/news/anti-vaxxers-target-baby-products-in-aussie-stores/news-story/04a75f01fefa8abc0d9bbb7359ccaa55" target="_blank">Kidspot</a> </em>about her find, the mother states she was furious after finding it and soon realised that there were other stickers lying on the floor in the same aisle.</p> <p>The stickers have nothing to do with Big W or any other retailer who may have been targeted by the anti-vaxxers – they are guerrilla marketing tactics used to try and target vulnerable parents who may not yet have vaccinated their children.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7820999/shutterstock_455879767.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/19382bffe7f7423ca441aa61735c647b" /></p> <p>The tactic has been seen before, as last year a Western Australian mother purchased a tin of baby formula for her baby daughter and when she opened it she discovered a propaganda card from the same organisation.</p> <p>Catherine Hughes, a pro-vaccine campaigner whose son Riley tragically died of whooping cough at four weeks of age in 2015, spoke to the <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/" target="_blank">Daily Telegraph</a></em> last year when the card was found and said it was a new low for the anti-vax movement.</p> <p>“I think it speaks volumes they have to sink to such a low level, it’s disgraceful and if you were a new parent, it could influence your decision to vaccinate. Fear is a tactic they like to use, but it’s also a breach of safety that they can go into a Woolworths store and tamper with formula, it’s concerning on so many levels,” she said.</p> <p>The message being delivered is not only dangerous but contains plenty of myths. Not only are they not based on fact, but they do not cite any sources to back up their claims.</p> <p>Numerous studies have been conducted in the past to investigate whether there is any connection between immunisation and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and no evidence has been found to support the theory that the two are linked. Some studies have even confirmed the SUDI (sudden unexpected death in infancy) rate in the immunised group is nearly half that in the non-immunised group. <a rel="noopener" href="https://rednose.com.au/article/immunisation" target="_blank">You can find more information including links to those studies at Red Nose</a>.</p> <p>The popular theory used by anti-vaxxers is that vaccines cause autism, but the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.kidspot.com.au/health/baby-health/immunisation/vaccines-and-autism-absolutely-no-link-exists-research-proves-again/news-story/af047426d6002c227bb45464463227c9" target="_blank">argument has been debunked countless times.</a></p> <p>While the argument has been withdrawn, those against vaccinations also used to claim that the HPV vaccine causes cancer, but the researches have discovered the exact opposite. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cancerresearch.org/join-the-cause/cancer-immunotherapy-month/30-facts/10" target="_blank">Vaccines prevent many cancers that are caused by viruses</a>.</p> <p>You can learn more about the important of vaccinating your child or grandchild at T<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.immunisationfoundation.org.au/immunisation/faqs/" target="_blank">he Immunisation Foundation of Australia</a>. </p> <p><span>What are your views on vaccination? Tell us in the comments below.</span></p>

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Cadbury vows to change packaging after death of 9-year-old in Australia

<p>Confectionary giant Cadbury has promised to implement changes to its packaging, following the death of a 9-year-old girl due to unclear labelling.</p> <p>Isabel Marrero died from an anaphylactic reaction in March this year after her mother gave her what looked like her favourite biscuit.</p> <p>Helen Marrero has been buying Cadbury choc chip cookies for years without problems, until recently. Helen had accidentally picked up the wrong variety of biscuit because the packets were almost identical.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/media/7820894/e7019d47a79957e7de1106fa40717094-79612.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7e109f9f5aa24b309b611fe9e8bc9d41" /></p> <p>“They both look like choc chip cookies to me even when you open them up they look pretty identical, but one has the allergen egg and one doesn’t,” she said.</p> <p>After her daughter’s tragic death, Ms Marrero went head on with food manufacturers in the hope to strengthen allergen labelling laws.</p> <p>Now, Cadbury has responded to the heartbroken family, promising to change its packaging so it’s easy to distinguish which biscuit is which.</p> <p>The company said it would add additional colour and descriptions to help separate the packets.</p> <p>“The aim is to highlight further that the products are different,” the company said in an email to the family.</p> <p>But it will take a while for the final product to reach our shores, as the new product is expected to hit Australian shelves next year.</p> <p>“As mentioned previously, the product is made overseas and shipped to Australia, so it does take some months to make it here,” Cadbury said.</p> <p>Ms Marrero still struggles with the loss of her daughter to this day, saying it’s a difficult feeling to describe. For her, life without Isabel “has been very hard, just every second thinking about her and trying to implement change so this doesn’t occur again".</p> <p>She asks all parents to remain vigilant and to always check the ingredients list before purchasing products.</p> <p>“Please, which I have learnt now, please read every single time you have purchased a product, even if you’ve been buying it for five years.”</p>

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“Truly disgusting”: Would you eat this? The food inside aged care facilities

<p>An investigation looking into the meals served to some of the most vulnerable people in Australia has uncovered a sickening reality.</p> <p>Food that wouldn’t be served to dogs is sadly being plated up as meals for elderly people living in Australia’s nursing homes, as budgets for aged care is slashed.</p> <p>Four thousand people involved with aged care wrote to the ABC as part of its investigation into the system, with the first of the two-part series airing on <em><span style="font-family: 'Calibri',sans-serif;">Four Corners</span></em> last night.</p> <p>Concerned friends and family members sent in photographs of cheap and unhealthy meals, which included hot dogs with tomato sauce and watery soup.</p> <p>Aged care worker Nicole* described one common dish, known as minced moist, as “truly disgusting” with a “horrible” smell.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">As you sit down to dinner before watching part one of our <a href="https://twitter.com/4corners?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@4corners</a> collaborative investigation into <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/agedcare?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#agedcare</a> in Australia tonight, ask yourself: Would you eat this? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AgedCareRC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AgedCareRC</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Royalcommission?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Royalcommission</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/4Corners?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#4Corners</a> <a href="https://t.co/LE0yamOIT7">pic.twitter.com/LE0yamOIT7</a></p> — 🦄 Flip Prior 🦄 (@FlipPrior) <a href="https://twitter.com/FlipPrior/status/1041540319538343937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">17 September 2018</a></blockquote> <p>Elizabeth*, who is an aged care worker in Melbourne spoke of undercooked vegetables, hard carrots and potatoes and tough meat.</p> <p>“Sadly, because of cutbacks it’s hard to retain good staff and resident meals suffer because no one really cares,” she said.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Would you eat this? <br />Take a look at the food served inside Australian <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/agedcare?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#agedcare</a> facilities before tonight's landmark investigation on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/4Corners?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#4Corners</a> <a href="https://t.co/NuUupDE4In">pic.twitter.com/NuUupDE4In</a></p> — 4corners (@4corners) <a href="https://twitter.com/4corners/status/1041547844375572480?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">17 September 2018</a></blockquote> <p>The photographs showed meals that looked like unidentifiable blobs. Given the title “texture-modified meals”, the dish is for those who have trouble swallowing their food, the ABC reported.</p> <p>“My mother has dementia but still knows she is fed up with this meal and doesn’t like it,” one daughter told the broadcaster.</p> <p>While some meals looked healthy and nutritious, this was a rare case.</p> <p>Cherie Hugo, a dietitian who has looked after over 800 Australian aged care facilities, found that they were spending a mere $6.08 a day on food per resident.</p> <p>That’s $2 less than prison inmates and drastically less than what an average adult would spend, at $17 a day.</p> <p>Dr Hugo told the program that one of her biggest concerns was that the amount spent on aged care food had dropped by 31 cents per person per day in a year, while the figure spent on supplements had risen by 50 cents.</p> <p>Health Services Union national secretary Gerard Hayes has called it a “disgrace.”</p> <p>These findings come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a royal commission into the aged care sector on Sunday following what he called an “alarming and disturbing” spike in elder abuse and poor standards.</p> <p><em><span style="font-family: 'Calibri',sans-serif;">*Names changed to protect identities.</span></em></p>

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Essential reading to get your head around Australia’s aged care crisis

<p>Tonight ABC’s<span> </span><em><a href="https://tv.press.abc.net.au/who-cares-four-corners">Four Corners</a></em><span> </span>will air the first of a two-part investigation into the often shocking treatment of the elderly in aged care homes around Australia.</p> <p>The timing coincides with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s weekend<span> </span><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-16/scott-morrison-announces-royal-commission-into-aged-care-sector/10252850">announcement of a royal commission</a><span> </span>into Australia’s aged care system. The prime minister said poor standards had led authorities to close one aged centre per month since the Oakden aged mental health home scandal.</p> <p>South Australia’s Oakden facility<span> </span><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-22/oakden-closed-as-last-two-residents-moved-out/8974156">closed nearly a year ago</a>, following revelations of abuse and neglect dating back a decade.</p> <p>While the terms of reference are yet to be determined, the royal commission will likely look into issues already raised by previous inquiries into the sector. These include the changing demands of Australia’s ageing population, staffing ratios, funding levels and the mental health, wellbeing and safety needs of nursing home residents.</p> <p>Below are five articles in which our experts have previously explored the complex aspects of Australia’s aged care system, drawing on research which has exposed where the problems are, and have been for some time.</p> <p><strong>Lack of medical care</strong></p> <p>Our ageing population, and the focus on helping the elderly stay at home for as long as possible, means by the time people enter aged care they are older and sicker than before. Around<span> </span><a href="https://www.gen-agedcaredata.gov.au/Resources/Factsheets-and-infographics/Care-needs-factsheet.pdf?ext=">half of people</a><span> </span>living in aged care today have dementia, depression, or another mental health or behavioural condition.</p> <p>In fact, the proportion of older people requiring high care for complex needs, which includes assistance with all activities of daily living such as eating and bathing, has quadrupled from 13% in 2009 to 61% in 2016.</p> <p>Yet there is no legal requirement for all aged care facilities to provide 24-hour registered nursing care. In the article below, Jane Phillips, David Currow, Deborah Parker and Nola Ries explore how today’s nursing home residents have minimal access to quality medical care.</p> <p><em><strong><a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-aged-care-residents-are-very-sick-yet-the-government-doesnt-prioritise-medical-care-88690">Australia’s aged care residents are very sick, yet the government doesn’t prioritise medical care</a></strong></em></p> <p>In a separate piece on health care in nursing homes, Sarah Russell has also written:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>nursing home providers looking to cut costs are bypassing registered nurses and employing less-skilled personal care attendants (PCAs) who aren’t adequately trained for the job.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-why-we-need-nurse-resident-ratios-in-aged-care-homes-59682">Here’s why we need nurse-resident ratios in aged care homes</a></em></strong></p> <p><strong>Funding for older Australians to stay at home </strong></p> <p>Research <a href="http://www.naca.asn.au/Age_Well/Blueprint.pdf">consistently shows</a> more people want to stay in their own homes as they age. In the <a href="https://www.budget.gov.au/2018-19/content/speech/download/budget_speech.pdf">2018-19 budget</a>, the government announced an extra A$1.6 billion over the next four years for an additional 14,000 <a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/help-home/home-care-packages">Home Care Packages</a>. These deliver an agreed set of services to meet the specific needs of aged Australians who want to remain at home.</p> <p>The government also subsidises a number (currently<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-aged-care-residents-are-very-sick-yet-the-government-doesnt-prioritise-medical-care-88690">around 283,000</a>) of residential care places for older people unable to continue living independently.</p> <p>Aged care subsidies are allocated<span> </span><a href="https://agedcare.health.gov.au/sites/g/files/net1426/f/documents/08_2016/2016_report_on_the_funding_and_financing_of_the_aged_care_industry_0.pdf">through a ratio</a>, which aims to provide 113 subsidised care places for every 1,000 people aged 70 and over. This ratio will increase to 125 places for every 1,000 by 2021-22. Within the overall number of places, the government also sets sub-targets for the numbers of Home Care Packages and residential care places.</p> <p>The government is aiming to amend the ratio in favour of more home care packages. By 2021-22, the target for home care packages will increase from 27 to 45 per 1,000, while the residential target is to reduce from 88 to 78 per 1,000.</p> <p>But as Professor of Health Economics at University of Technology Sydney, Michael Woods has written, this still won’t be enough to meet demand.</p> <p><em><strong><a href="https://theconversation.com/there-is-extra-funding-for-aged-care-in-the-budget-but-not-enough-to-meet-demand-96403">There is extra funding for aged care in the budget, but not enough to meet demand</a></strong></em></p> <p><strong>Poor mental health</strong></p> <p>Older Australians living in nursing homes represent one of society’s most vulnerable populations. More than 50% of<span> </span><a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/aged-care/depression-in-residential-aged-care-2008-2012/contents/table-of-contents">residents in nursing homes</a><span> </span>suffer from depression compared to 10-15% of adults of the same age living in the community.</p> <p>Recent<span> </span><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/gps.4862">research</a><span> </span>conducted by Briony Murphy and Professor Joseph Ibrahim from Monash University’s Health Law and Ageing Research Unit, found around 140 Australian nursing-home residents took their own lives between 2000 and 2013.</p> <p>The authors found nearly 70% of those who took their own life were male, 66% had a diagnosis of depression, and nearly 80% were experiencing one or more major life stresses, such as health deterioration. Around 43% were experiencing isolation and loneliness, and nearly 30% had trouble adjusting to life in a nursing home.</p> <p>They wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>The small proportion of adults over 65 living with depression in the community shows that depression is not a normal part of the ageing process … the much larger figure of those suffering depression in nursing homes raises some serious questions.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><em><strong><a href="https://theconversation.com/too-many-australians-living-in-nursing-homes-take-their-own-lives-92112">Too many Australians living in nursing homes take their own lives</a></strong></em></p> <p><strong>Poor oral health</strong></p> <p>Stories of abuse and neglect in nursing homes have also highlighted the issue of poor nutrition and oral health. In November 2017, the dire state of this was shown in a report of a<span> </span><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/push-for-inquiry-after-woman-found-with-maggots-in-her-mouth-at-nsw-nursing-home-20170509-gw0p1j.html">nursing home resident in NSW</a><span> </span>who was found with maggots in her mouth the day before she died.</p> <p>Researchers have long highlighted people living in aged care have substantially poorer oral health and three times the risk of untreated tooth decay than people living in the community.</p> <p>Bronwyn Hemsley, Andrew Georgious, Joanne Steel and Susan Balandin collated a list of ways family members can help ensure their loved ones’ oral health is adequately looked after. This includes visiting your family member around mealtimes ...</p> <blockquote> <p><em>… or helping the person to eat … Ask the resident permission to look into her (or his) mouth to check if she (or he) is swallowing or removing leftover food promptly.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/the-shocking-state-of-oral-health-in-our-nursing-homes-and-how-family-members-can-help-77473">The shocking state of oral health in our nursing homes, and how family members can help</a></em></strong></p> <p><em>If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or another mental health problem, contact<span> </span><a href="http://www.lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline</a><span> </span>13 11 14,<span> </span><a href="http://beyondblue.org.au/">beyondblue</a><span> </span>1300 22 4636 or<span> </span><a href="http://www.sane.org/">SANE Australia</a><span> </span>1800 18 7263.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Sasha Petrova. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/essential-reading-to-get-your-head-around-australias-aged-care-crisis-103325">The Conversation</a>. </em></p> <p> </p>

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How old is too old for surgery?

<p><strong><em>Juliana Kok is a clinical lecturer and anaesthetist at the University of Melbourne.</em></strong></p> <p>Many of us will have been in situations with older loved ones where a doctor says surgery is too risky given the patient’s advanced age. Why is it surgery becomes risky in the elderly, and is it based on chronological age or their health?</p> <p>During surgery and anaesthesia, there are many changes in the body that occur in response to injury and trauma. This is known as the stress response to surgery.</p> <p>The surgical stress response results in an increased secretion of hormones that promote the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the body to provide extra energy during and after surgery. The hormonal changes associated with the surgical stress response also <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/bja/85.1.109">activate the sympathetic nervous system</a>.</p> <p>The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response and causes a rise in heart rate and blood pressure. The changes in the heart rate and blood pressure during surgery and anaesthesia create a state where the heart requires more oxygen, while the surgical stress response and anaesthesia often impedes the oxygen supply to the vital organs such as the heart and the brain. This is a result of less blood flow to the body organs during and after the operation.</p> <p>Anaesthesia confers risks separate from the risks of surgery. These are mostly minor and easy to treat. But serious problems with the heart, lungs and other major organs are more likely during emergency surgery or in the presence of other health conditions. These factors may increase with chronological age, but frailty is the bigger factor for doctors in deciding whether a patient should undergo surgery and anaesthesia.</p> <p><strong>Frailty</strong></p> <p>Frailty is a state where a person is vulnerable due to decline in body function. This in turn reduces their ability to cope with acute and every day stressors.</p> <p>In a frail person, there is an accumulation of defects in different organ systems of the body, causing them to function close to the threshold of failure. The organ systems near the threshold of failure are then <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcs125">unable to “bounce back”</a></span> from an external or internal stressor.</p> <p>An apparently small insult such as a simple fall can result in a significant and disproportionate reduction in reserve and function. The need to have surgery, and the condition that has caused a need for surgery, would often be considered a large insult in a frail person.</p> <p>Although frailty is more common in older people, it’s not exclusive to older people. Most frail people have chronic health problems, and their frailty increases with the number of chronic health conditions. But most people with chronic health conditions <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369632/">are not frail</a></span>.</p> <p>There are certain health conditions that are more common in people who are frail, such as heart failure, chronic airways disease and chronic kidney disease.</p> <p><strong>How do we identify frailty and how does it affect health?</strong></p> <p>There are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.050051">many different tools</a> we can use to detect frailty. The Clinical Frailty Scale is one tool based on clinical features present in the patient and the Frailty Index is another tool based on the accumulation of deficits in the patient.</p> <p>The Clinical Frailty Scale is a single descriptor of a person’s level of frailty using clinical judgement graded from one to nine. Level one is a very fit person; level four is “vulnerable” – where the person is not dependent on others for help with daily activities but does have symptoms that limit activities; and level nine is a terminally ill person.</p> <p>It has been observed that people with a higher Clinical Frailty Scale were more likely to be older, female, have a degree of cognitive impairment and incontinence. The higher proportion of females will most likely reflect the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62167-9">longer life expectancy of women</a>.</p> <p>Frail people have a higher risk of recurrent falls and fractures and subsequent disability and reduced function. There have been <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1503%2Fcmaj.161403">many studies</a> performed to examine how well frailty predicts outcomes after surgery.</p> <p>In people who have surgery, frailty has been shown to be associated with a higher risk of surgical complications, a greater chance of requiring discharge to a residential care facility and a lower rate of survival. And the frailer the patient, the higher the risk the patient will require readmission after surgery, and the higher the risk of death.</p> <p>As our population gets older and more frail people have surgery, this will become an important issue, and health care professionals in all areas will need to be more aware of it.</p> <p><em>Written by Juliana Kok. Republished with permission of<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-old-is-too-old-for-surgery-and-why-95860"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Conversation.</span></strong></a></em></p> <p><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/95860/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p>

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Olivia Newton-John reveals the tragic cancer diagnosis she kept secret

<p>Olivia Newton-John first battled cancer in 1992 but the Aussie star has revealed that she also fought the disease without her fans knowing in 2013.</p> <p>The 69-year-old actress and singer revealed in an interview with Channel Seven’s <em>Sunday Night</em> why she chose not to go public with the diagnosis at the time.</p> <p>“I thought, 'It's my life' and I just decided to keep it to myself,” she admitted.</p> <p>In early 2013, Olivia was involved in a minor car accident and a lump appeared on her right shoulder.</p> <p>She confessed on <em>Sunday Night</em> that she initially believed the lump was caused by the strain of her seat belt, until scans revealed that the breast cancer she had beaten two decades earlier had returned.</p> <p>Olivia explained that it was one of the most difficult periods of her life as her older sister, Rona, died from brain cancer months later.</p> <p>Olivia beat her second bout of cancer but now, she is battling the disease again after a tumour was found at the base of her spine last year.</p> <p>The brave Grammy Award winner revealed in the interview that she is using natural remedies to fight the disease, as well as undergoing radiation therapy.</p> <p>Olivia has removed sugar from her diet and uses marijuana to help ease her physical pain.</p> <p>The star’s husband of 10 years, John Easterling, is the founder of the Amazon Herb Company and grows cannabis for her at their property in California.</p> <p>“In California, it's legal to grow a certain amount of plants for your own medicinal purposes ... I'm very lucky that I live in a state where it's legal and that I have a husband that is a plant-medicine man,” she said.</p> <p>Despite her health battles, Olivia remains thankful for all the blessings in her life.</p> <p>“There are other people out there doing much, much worse than me. I'm a very privileged person, and I'm very aware of that,” she said.</p> <p>“I live in this beautiful place. I have a wonderful husband. I have all the animals that I adore. I have an incredible career. I have nothing, really, to complain about.”</p> <p>When asked if she was worried about the cancer, she responded: “I believe I will win over it, and that's my goal.” </p>

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How long are you contagious with gastro?

<p><strong><em>Vincent Ho is a senior lecturer and clinical academic gastroenterologist at Western Sydney University. </em></strong></p> <p>There’s no way you’d want to go to work when you’ve got the telltale signs of gastro: nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. But what about when you’re feeling a bit better? When is it safe to be around colleagues, or send your kids to school or daycare?</p> <p>The health department recommends staying home from work or school for <u><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/gastroenteritis">a minimum of 24 hours</a></u> after you last vomited or had diarrhoea. But the question of how long someone is <em>contagious</em> after recovering from gastro is a very different question.</p> <p><strong>What causes gastro?</strong></p> <p>To better understand how long you can be contagious with gastro, we need to look at the various causes.</p> <p>Viruses are the most common causes of gastro. Rotavirus is the leading cause in infants and young children, whereas norovirus is the leading cause of gastro in adults.</p> <p>There are around <u><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320479/">1.8 million cases</a></u> of norovirus infection in Australia each year. This accounts for almost 40% of the total cases of gastro.</p> <p>Bacterial gastroenteritis is also common and accounts for around <u><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320479/">1.6 million cases</a></u> a year. Of those cases, 1.1 million come from E. coli infections. Other bacteria that commonly cause gastro include salmonella, shigella and campylobacter. These bacteria are often found in raw or undercooked meat, seafood, and unpasteurised milk.</p> <p>Parasites such as giardia lamblia, entamoeba histolytica and cryptosporidium account for around <u><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320479/">700,000 cases</a></u> of gastro per year. Most of the time people recover from parasitic gastroenteritis without incident, but it can cause problems for people with weaker immune systems.</p> <p><strong>Identifying the bug</strong></p> <p>Most cases of diarrhoea are mild, and resolve themselves with no need for medical attention.</p> <p>But some warrant further investigation, particularly among <span><a href="https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/october/stool-culture/">returned travellers</a></span>, people who have had diarrhoea for four or five days (or more than one day with a fever), patients with bloody stools, those who have <span><a href="https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/32/3/331/282348">recently used antibiotics</a></span>, and patients whose immune systems are compromised.</p> <p>The most common test is the stool culture which is used to identify microbes grown from loose or unformed stools. The <span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15095189">bacterial yield</a></span> of stool cultures is generally low. But if it does come back with a positive result, it can be potentially important for the patient.</p> <p>Some organisms that are isolated in stool cultures are notifiable to public health authorities. This is because of their potential to cause serious harm in vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.</p> <p>The health department <span><a href="http://www.health.gov.au/casedefinitions">must be notified</a></span> of gastro cases caused by campylobacter, cryptosporidium, listeria, salmonella, shigella and certain types of E.coli infection. This can help pinpoint outbreaks when they arise and allow for appropriate control measures.</p> <p><strong>You might feel better but your poo isn't </strong></p> <p>Gastro bugs are spread via the the faecal-oral route, which means faeces needs to come into contact with the mouth for transmission to occur.</p> <p>Sometimes this can happen if contaminated faecal material gets into drinking water, or during food preparation.</p> <p>But more commonly, tiny particles of poo might remain on the hands after going to the toilet. Using toilet paper to wipe when you go to the toilet doesn’t completely prevent the <span><a href="http://jfoodprotection.org/doi/pdf/10.4315/0362-028X-71.12.2582">contamination of hands</a></span>, and even more so when the person has diarrhoea.</p> <p>The particles then make their way to another person’s mouth during food preparation or touching a variety of contaminated surfaces and then putting your fingers in your mouth.</p> <p>After completely recovering from the symptoms of gastro, infectious organisms can still be shed into stools. Faecal shedding of campylobacter, the E. coli O157 strain, salmonella, shigella, cryptosporidium, entamoeba, and giardia <span><a href="http://jfoodprotection.org/doi/pdf/10.4315/0362-028X-71.11.2339">can last for many days to weeks</a></span>. In fact, some people who have recovered from salmonella have <span><a href="http://jfoodprotection.org/doi/pdf/10.4315/0362-028X-71.11.2339">shed the bacteria</a></span> into their stools 102 days later.</p> <p>Parasites can remain alive in the bowel for a long period of time after diarrhoea finishes. Infectious cryptosporidium oocysts can be shed into stools for up to 50 days. <span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/MMWRhtml/ss5401a2.htm">Giardia oocysts</a></span> can take even longer to be excreted.</p> <p><strong>So, how long should you stay away? </strong></p> <p>Much of the current advice on when people can return to work, school or child care after gastro is based on the most common viral gastroenteritis, norovirus, even though few patients will discover the cause of their bug.</p> <p>For norovirus, the highest rate of viral shedding into stools occurs <span><a href="http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/cda-cdna-norovirus.htm/%24File/norovirus-guidelines.pdf">24 to 48 hours</a></span> after all symptoms have stopped. The viral shedding rate then starts to quickly decrease. So people can return to work <span><a href="http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/cda-cdna-norovirus.htm/%24File/norovirus-guidelines.pdf">48 hours</a></span> after symptoms have stopped.</p> <p>Yes, viral shedding into stools <span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11280609">can occur for longer</a></span> than 48 hours. But because norovirus infection is so common and recovery is rapid, it’s not considered practical to demand patients’ stools be clear of the virus before returning to work.</p> <p>While 24 hours may be appropriate for many people, a specific 48-hour exclusion rule is considered necessary for <span><a href="https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/~/media/Files/Corporate/general%20documents/food/PDF/Guidelines_for_Exclusion_from_Work_Due_to_Gastroenteritis.pdf">those in a higher-risk category</a></span> for spreading gastro to others. These include food handlers, health care workers and children under the age of five at child care or play group.</p> <p>If you have a positive stool culture for a notifiable organism, that may change the situation. Food handlers, childcare workers and health-care workers affected by <a href="https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/infectious-diseases/disease-information-advice/verotoxin-e-coli">verotoxin E.coli</a>, for example, are not permitted to work until symptoms have stopped and two consecutive faecal specimens taken at least 24 hours apart have tested negative for verotoxin E. coli. This may lead to a lengthy exclusion period from work, possibly several days.</p> <p><strong>How to stop the spread</strong></p> <p>Diligently washing your hands often with soap and water is the most effective way to stop the spread of these gastro bugs to others.</p> <p>Consider this: when 10,000 giardia cysts were placed in the palm of a hand, handwashing with soap <span><a href="http://jfoodprotection.org/doi/pdf/10.4315/0362-028X-73.10.1937">eliminated 99%</a></span> of them.</p> <p>To prevent others from becoming sick, disinfect contaminated surfaces thoroughly immediately after <span><a href="https://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/norovirus/home.html">someone vomits or has diarrhoea</a></span>. While wearing disposable gloves, wash surfaces with <span><a href="http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/gastroenteritis-outbreaks.aspx">hot water and a neutral detergent</a></span>, then use household bleach containing 0.1% hypochlorite solution as a disinfectant.</p> <p><em>Written by Vincent Ho. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.theconversation.com"><strong><u>The Conversation.</u></strong> </a></em><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/98769/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p>

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Prince Frederik of Denmark hospitalised

<p>Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark has been forced to cancel his upcoming engagements after undergoing back surgery on Sunday.</p> <p>The Danish palace released a statement confirming that Frederik had an operation to correct a slipped disc. The operation was successful, and he was discharged from the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen on Monday.</p> <p>The future king of Denmark was due to mark Nature Day on Monday and take part in an army-related engagement on Wednesday. His trip to Finland, scheduled for next week, has also been postponed.</p> <p>He is now recovering at home and will resume his royal duties in the coming weeks.</p> <p>Frederik was most recently pictured in public last Wednesday during French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Denmark.</p> <p>The father-of-four has previously spoken up about his back pain. Prince Frederik, who celebrated turning 50 by participating in the <em>Royal Run</em>, said in May: "I have had a few back problems lately which have stopped me from going running as I would like to."</p> <p>The news come just days after it was revealed that Frederik and his Aussie-born wife Princess Mary will be coming to Australia for the upcoming Invictus Games.</p> <p><strong><u><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/prince-harry-and-duchess-meghan-aren-t-the-only-royals-visiting-australia-next-month">Frederik and Mary will join British royals Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan</a></u></strong> in Sydney for the Invictus Games, which will run from October 20 to 27.</p>

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Four-year-old fighting for her life after trying on new shoes

<p>A four-year-old girl from Wales in the UK is suffering from a life-threatening condition after contracting deadly sepsis from trying on new shoes.</p> <p>A day after trying on different sized shoes on bare feet, Sienna Rasul fell seriously ill. She was later diagnosed with sepsis – a life-threatening disease that can develop due to an infection.</p> <p>As reported by <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7125547/girl-fighting-sepsis-infection-new-school-shoes-shop/" target="_blank">The Sun</a></em>, doctors believe the infection was present on the shoes that she tried on, and that there is a possibility that Sienna had a cut or graze on her foot that allowed the bacteria to enter her body.</p> <p>As a result, Sienna spent five days in hospital with a drip attached to her at all times. Her mother, Jodie Thomas, was by her side during the ordeal.</p> <p>“I was really shocked when the doctors said it was from trying on new shoes,” she said.</p> <p>“I’ve been worried sick. They’ve had to drain all the poison from her leg.</p> <p>“Normally she would have socks on but it’s the summertime, so she was wearing sandals.</p> <p>“The shoes she liked had been tried on by other little girls and that’s how Sienna picked up the infection.”</p> <p>Jodie knew something was wrong with her daughter when Sienna was constantly crying in pain after the shopping trip.</p> <p>When doctors noticed the infection, they used a pen to outline exactly where it had spread.</p> <p>“By the next day it had spread up her leg and her temperature was raging,” said Jodie.</p> <p>“I drove her straight to the hospital. She was shaking and twitching – it was horrible to see my little girl like that.</p> <p>“They said it was sepsis and thought they would have to operate.</p> <p>“But the doctors have managed to drain all the pus from her leg and say the antibiotic drip will do the job.”</p> <p>Sienna has been released from the children’s ward at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, but is still being closely monitored.</p> <p>After going through the horrifying ordeal, Jodie is now reminding parents of the importance of children wearing socks when trying on shoes.</p> <p>“I knew you risk getting things like athlete’s foot from trying on shoes, but blood poisoning is far more serious,” she said.</p> <p>“You don’t know whose feet have been in the shoes before you.</p> <p>“Sienna has been really ill. The infection was moving up her leg and spreading to the rest of her body.</p> <p>“I’m so glad I got her to the hospital quickly."</p> <p>When shopping for new children's shoes, Jodie advised mums and dads "to take a spare pair of socks with them".</p> <p>Chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust Dr Ron Daniels said that: “This frightening case shows us that sepsis strikes indiscriminately and can affect anyone at any time.</p> <p>“Whenever there are signs of infection, it’s crucial that members of the public seek medical attention urgently and just ask: ‘Could it be sepsis?’” he added.</p> <p>“Better awareness could save thousands of lives every year.”</p>

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