January 2024 – Patient Newsletter
Look after yourself
Winter, conditions such as cold weather can be bad for our health, especially if you are 65 or older or have health problems.
If you are in the cold for too long, it can make you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, or your blood pressure could go up. It can also make other health problems worse, increase the chance of falling over, and make you more likely to get sick.
But don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to stay healthy during winter!
It’s important to keep warm in winter to prevent health problems. Age UK and UKHSA suggest heating your home to at least 18°C in the rooms you use often. Low indoor temperatures can worsen medical conditions and affect the health of older people. Simple changes can help keep you and your home warm.
- Try to reduce draughts – you can fit draught excluders around doors cheaply.
- Keep your bedroom windows closed at night.
- Wear several layers of thinner clothing – this will keep you warmer than one thicker layer.
- Ensure you are eating enough and having hot drinks.
Check your heating and cooking appliances for safety. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer for proper operation. Visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk and www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk for more info.
Winter finance support
Get help this winter with grants, benefits, and advice to make your home energy efficient and manage energy bills. The government has published energy-saving tips at www.helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk. For more advice on winter grants, visit Wakefield Council’s website: https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/cost-of-living-support/
Being inactive can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression, and dementia. Regular exercise can help improve your physical and mental health, reduce the risk of falling, and aid in recovery. Try these home activities for staying active here: www.nhs.uk/keepactive or check out https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/sport-and-leisure/sport-activities-and-classes/ for local exercise options.
Good hygiene is important to avoid discomfort, infections, and maintain self-esteem. Remember to wash your hands, genitals, face, and body regularly. Also, brush your teeth twice a day. For more information on handwashing, visit www.nhs.uk/handwashing.
Making your home safe
To make your home safer, move rugs away from stairs, install a night light, and remove clutter and wires that can cause trips. Ensure you have smoke alarms on every floor and do a free online home fire safety check at www.ohfsc.co.uk. You can also book a safe and well visit at https://www.westyorksfire.gov.uk/safe-and-well-visits.
Use NHS services to stay well this winter
If you’re worried about your health, don’t delay, your NHS wants to see you!
Help us help you get the care you need this winter.
Improving Mental Health with Turning Point’s Talking Therapy
Feeling down is a common experience that affects us all, regardless of age. However, if you’re facing challenges with your mental health, Turning Point could offer the support you need. Their talking therapy services are designed to help you overcome these obstacles and regain control of your life. Count on Turning Point’s expertise to guide you every step of the way.
You get in touch with them by:
- Referring yourself online via this: form
- Or you can call 01924 234 860, weekdays 8am – 8pm (until 4pm on Fridays), weekends 9am – 4pm on Saturdays and 10am – 4pm on Sundays
Dealing with Loneliness: Tips to Help You Cope
Most people feel lonely sometimes, for many different reasons. If loneliness is affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help.
Support is also available if you’re finding it hard to cope with stress, anxiety or depression.
Here are some things you can try to help with loneliness:
- Talk to someone about your feelings. A friend, family member, health professional, or counsellor can provide support and a listening ear. Samaritans is also available through their hotline at 116 123 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need someone to talk to.
- Join a group or class that interests you. If you’re feeling nervous, ask to observe first before participating.
- Spend time around other people. Visiting a park, the cinema, or a cafe can help alleviate feelings of loneliness.
- Consider peer support, where people use their experiences to help each other. Find out more about peer support from Mind
- Get practical tips and advice to help with loneliness on Every Mind Matters
- Try the 6 ways to feel happier, which are simple lifestyle changes to help you feel more in control and able to cope
- Find out how to raise your self-esteem
- Listen to free mental wellbeing audio guides
Consult Your Local Pharmacist for the Best Winter Medicines
This winter, be prepared to keep your family healthy by stocking your medicine cabinet with the right supplies. You can find many over-the-counter medicines, including paracetamol and ibuprofen, to relieve common winter illnesses like colds, sinusitis, or earaches. Your pharmacist can provide helpful advice if you have any questions or concerns.
To find a local pharmacist visit NHS Service Finder
Managing Winter Illness Symptoms at Home
If you’re feeling under the weather, here are a few steps you can take to manage your symptoms and bounce back to feeling like yourself again:
- Keep yourself warm
- Rest as much as possible
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
- Consume at least one hot meal a day to maintain your energy levels
- Use over-the-counter medicines to alleviate symptoms
For more information search ‘medicines’ on www.nhs.uk
Getting the Right Medical Care: Contact NHS 111 for Guidance
If you are uncertain about the medical service you need or require medical advice, reach out to NHS 111. They can provide you with clinical guidance or direct you to the appropriate services for your treatment.
You can access 111 services online by dialling 111 or visiting 111.nhs.uk
7 ways your pharmacy can help you!
The NHS has just launched Pharmacy First, a new scheme that lets Pharmacies treat patients for 7 additional medical conditions:
- Infected insect bites
- Sinusitis (sinus infection)
- Sore throat
- Urinary tract infections
- Middle ear infection
Pharmacist can offer you quick diagnosis and treatment for these conditions including:
- Antibiotics (antibiotics are usually reserved for severe cases)
- Over the counter medication
- Self-care advice
Pharmacists are highly skilled healthcare professionals who have trained for at least five years.
The details of any treatment you receive from the Pharmacists will be sent back to Health Care First GP practice to be included in your medical record.
Currently every pharmacy in the local area is offering these services. You can walk into a local pharmacy and ask for treatment but in general we recommend giving your pharmacy a quick call beforehand to check their availability. You ca use the NHS service finder to find and contact a local pharmacy.
You can also get support from pharmacies for the following:
- Chlamydia screening and treatment
- Advice and help on how to stop smoking
- Cholesterol and blood sugar testing
- Substance misuse services, including needle and syringe exchange schemes
- Advice and help on how to manage your weight
Getting treatment from Pharmacies for these conditions will be quicker than seeking an appointment with a GP practice as Pharmacies support a much smaller range of medical conditions. If the Pharmacist feels you do need an appointment with us or another service, they’ll refer you to the appropriate service.
You should use Pharmacy services when you can as Pharmacist are specialized in supporting these conditions and will give you the best advice and support for these conditions.
Ways to contact us without waiting in the telephone queue?
Did you know that the form you complete online and through the NHS app is the same information our care navigators take when you call?
Booking online helps us process requests more efficiently and free up our Care Navigators to support people unable to contact us online?
To make an online appointment request with Health Care First, visit www.healthcarefirst.co.uk and click “Online Consulting Room”.
Then, log in via your NHS login or PATCHS account, and answer a few questions about your medical condition and availability.
Once you submit your request, you’ll receive a text with a link to book an appointment.
For more information, visit our website: www.healthcarefirst.co.uk.