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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2008): Care of the elderly - UK

Home from home: a report highlighting opportunities for improving standards of dementia care in care homes

S. Sharp

London: Alzheimer's Society, 2007

The number of people with dementia in the UK will rise sharply over the next 15 years as the population ages. This presents society with the challenge of raising the standard of care in residential homes. Areas for improvement include:

  • Provision of activities and occupation, treating residents with dignity and respect and fostering good relationships between care homes and relatives
  • Specific training to equip staff with the skills they need to provide person-centred care
  • Support from external specialist services, such as the local older person's mental health team, which is unacceptably variable at present
  • Raising public expectations about the quality of care

(See also Health Service Journal, Jan. 24th 2008, p. 16-17)

Improving services and support for people with dementia

Public Accounts Committee

London: TSO, 2008 (House of Commons papers, session 2007/08; HC228)

Report calls for dementia care to be given the same priority as cancer and heart disease in the light of its financial and human impact. Like those conditions, it should be accorded a single leader within the Department of Health responsible for driving improvements in diagnosis, treatment and care. The committee found that many people do not receive a formal diagnosis of dementia because of GPs' lack of knowledge, a fear of dementia, and a perception that little can be done to help people with the condition. Carers are also often poorly supported, leading to people with dementia being admitted to hospital where they they experience poorer outcomes and longer stays than those who are of sound mind.

Progress and problems in developing outcomes-focused social care services for older people in England

C. Glendinning and others

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.16, 2008, p. 54-63

Increasingly, policies for adult social care in England are calling for these services to focus primarily on delivering the outcomes required by individual older people. This paper has drawn on a postal survey of local authorities and six in-depth case studies to explore the range of current outcomes-focused services and activities. The study found that progress in developing outcomes-focused services was relatively recent and somewhat fragmented. Developments in intermediate care and re-ablement services, focusing on change outcomes, were marked; however, there seemed to be a disjunction between these and the capacity of home care services to address desired maintenance outcomes. Process outcomes were addressed across a range of re-ablement, day care and residential services.

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