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

Care planning systems in care homes for older people

A. Worden and D. Challis

Quality in Ageing, vol. 9, June 2008, p. 28-38

Care planning is an important stage in providing good quality care for individuals with complex needs, many of whom reside in care homes. Care plans serve a number of purposes, including acting as a communication tool. An accessible format for care plans is therefore important. This study examined the format and content of 117 blank care plan documents used in Manchester and Cheshire nursing and residential care homes in 2001/02. A variety of types and formats of care plans was found, suggesting that the interpretation and recording of care planning may not be uniform across homes.

An evaluation of the needs and service usage of family carers of people with dementia

T.R. Cascioli and others

Quality in Ageing, vol. 9, June 2008, p. 18-27

Current government policy gives high priority to supporting family carers of people with dementia. This study investigated the needs of those caring for a person with dementia and their satisfaction with current services in Caerphilly County Borough in South Wales. The study revealed needs for improved communication between carers and professionals, more information about the condition to be provided for carers, and greater emotional support in the shape of home visits by professionals, a 24-hour helpline, and more support groups.

Give old people a seat at the modernisation table

N. Hayes and J. Webster

Health Service Journal, June 5th 2008, p. 18-19

Specialist health care provision for older people has disappeared from the government’s strategic priorities for NHS service and workforce development. There is no guarantee that mainstream NHS services will deliver the specialist care needed by frail elderly people with multiple illnesses. We must not return to a situation where older people are marginalised with limited access to gerontologists and specialist rehabilitation services.

Head of new inspectorate pledges to 'build on what we have'

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Jun. 16th 2008, p. 2

In this interview, Baroness Young, chair of the new Care Quality Commission, explains her vision for the future of the Commission, including how she would like to press ahead with removing boundaries between the health, social care and mental health sectors.

Thousands fall prey to surge in cost of living

K. Hopkins

The Guardian, June 11th 2008, p. 7

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that the rise in the number of pensioners living below the poverty line has been more drastic than predicted, with 2.5 million of Britain’s pensioners now falling into this category. The increase in pensioner poverty is due in part to the fact that the one-off payment those over 70 received in 2006 to help with rising council tax bills has not been repeated.

Transforming the quality of dementia care: consultation on a national dementia strategy

Department of Health 2008

This consultation on a proposed national strategy for dementia highlights the need for better leadership and training of general hospital staff based on core competencies. It proposes that hospitals should appoint a senior clinician to lead on care for dementia patients. The government also wants to see trusts and local councils developing joint commissioning strategies. Other proposals include a public information campaign to raise awareness of dementia, the creation of dementia care advisers to be a single point of contact for for patients and more “memory clinics”.

Use of 'chemical cosh' drugs to be restricted

S. Boseley

The Guardian, June 20th 2008, p. 15

The routine administration of antipsychotic drugs to those suffering from dementia is to be scaled back as part of a government drive to ensure people are given drugs appropriate for their condition and not given heavy sedatives which can present further risk to health unless necessary.

What’s in a name?

B. Ferguson

Caring Times, June 2008, p. 16

The author comments on the role of the proposed Care Quality Commission. This new regulatory body will ensure that residential homes provide bare minimum standards of care rather than requiring that they use best practice. The major drivers of improvement will be commissioners (councils and primary care trusts) and service users exercising consumer choice.

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