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

The case for change: why England needs a new care and support system

HM Government

DH Publications, 2008

This consultation paper argues that the Treasury cannot cover the rising costs of care home places and domiciliary care as the population ages. It is expected that a funding gap of 6bn will open up over the next 20 years between the amount of funding available from the taxpayer and what will be needed. It then states that in principle costs of care should be shared between the family, the individual and the state. It proposes a compulsory levy on working families to cover the cost of long-term care in old age. Means testing will remain in place and the tax revenues will be used to meet the bills of those in need, many of whom will never have worked or saved. Housing equity may still be used to cover costs.

Dementia drug ban is flawed

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, May 2nd 2008, p. 8

The government's rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, banned the use of Aricept for people with mild Alzheimer's disease without releasing the calculations they had used in deciding on its cost-effectiveness. The Court of Appeal has ruled that this was unfair, and the information will now have to be released to the drug companies Eisai and Pfizer. However, the guidance is unlikely to change.

Motivation and commissioning: perceived and expressed motivation of care home providers

T. Matosevic, M. Knapp and J. Le Grand

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 42, 2008, p. 228-247

The balance of provision of residential care for older people has shifted away from the public sector and towards the independent sector, with local authorities assuming new commissioning and purchasing roles. It is assumed that the views of local authority staff on the motivations of care home providers will influence commissioning decisions. This research examines commissioners' views of provider motivations in eight English local authorities and compares their perceived motivations with providers' expressed motives. Providers were generally perceived by commissioners as highly altruistic and financially motivated at the same time. Associations were found between commissioners' perceptions of motivation and the nature of their relationship with providers. Perceptions of provider motivation appeared important within the commissioning framework.

Spotlight report 2008: spotlight on older people in the UK

Help the Aged, 2008

Higher food and fuel bills are exacerbating feelings of isolation, discrimination and loneliness among older people in Britain to the extent that their health is being adversely affected. The results of the charity's third annual Spotlight survey show 15% of 2.8 million pensioners claiming to be in persistent poverty. Due to rising energy costs, an estimated 200,000 more pensioner households have been plunged into fuel poverty in 2007/08.

A systematic review of older people's perceptions of facilitators and barriers to participation in falls prevention interventions

F. Bunn and others

Ageing and Society, vol. 28, 2008, p. 449-472

The prevention of falls is currently high on the health policy agenda in the UK, which has led to the establishment of many falls prevention services. If these services are to be effective, their acceptability to older people needs to be considered. This paper reports a systematic review of studies of older people's perceptions of these interventions. The factors that facilitated participation included social support, low intensity exercise, greater education, involvement in decision-making, and a perception of the programmes as relevant and life-enhancing. Barriers to participation included fatalism, denial of the risk of falling, poor self-efficacy, no previous history of exercise, fear of falling, poor health and functional ability, low health expectations, and stigma associated with programmes targeted on older people.

Worlds apart or one and the same?

M. Dunworth

Professional Social Work, May 2008, p. 18-19

This research examined differences in approach between a care home led by a manager from a social work background and one managed by a nurse. It aimed to uncover any obvious differences and establish if reports of health versus social model divergences are exaggerated. In fact, very few differences between the homes were found. What did emerge, however, were differences in staff engagement with issues. Those managed by the social worker gave more complex and reflective answers. By contrast, those managed by the nurse showed a tendency to simply refer dilemmas to their manager.

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