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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2009): Care of the elderly - UK

Call to curb free travel for over-60s

S. Knapton

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 27th 2009, p. 6

Bus companies are complaining that local authorities are not fully reimbursing them for the costs of free travel for pensioners in England under the scheme introduced in 2008. Some companies say they receive less than half the fare charged to paying passengers from local authorities and are considering cutting the routes used by the elderly to discourage them from travelling.

Decision making near the end of life: issues, developments, and future directions

J. Werth, Jr and D. Blevins (editors)

Abingdon: Routledge, 2009

The book provides a comprehensive overview of the recent developments that have impacted decision-making processes within the field of end-of-life care. The most up to date developments in all aspects of major underlying issues such as public attitudes, the impact of media, bioethics, and legal precedent provide the background information for the text. The book examines various aspects of end-of-life choices and decision-making, including communication, advance directives, and the emergence of hospice and palliative care institutions. It also explores a variety of psychosocial considerations that arise in decision-making, including religion/spirituality, family caregiving, disenfranchised and diverse groups, and the psychological and psychiatric problems that can impact both the dying person and the loved ones.

Elderly patients denied specialist stroke treatment

K. Devlin

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 16th 2009, p. 12

Research has found that younger stroke patients were five times more likely than the elderly to receive an MRI scan to check for bleeds and blockages. They were also significantly more likely to be given advice on how to lose weight to reduce their chances of another stroke. However both groups were given equal access to drugs to help prevent further strokes. The study concludes that a change of attitude among health professionals is needed to root out ageism.

Explaining about ... mental health and well-being

F. Borrowman and S. Dempster

Working with Older People, vol. 13, Mar. 2009, p. 11-14

The Mental Health and Well-being in Later Life Programme was established in 2001 by the Scottish government and is managed by NHS Health Scotland. The programme has worked with a number of partner organisations to:

  • Add to the evidence base around mental health in later life
  • Fund demonstration projects
  • Disseminate examples and evidence of good practice
  • Produce a range of publications

Impacts of case management for frail elderly people: a qualitative study

R. Sheaff and others

Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, vol. 14, 2009, p.88-95

The Evercare pilot projects run by UnitedHealth Europe reintroduced case management for frail elderly people into the English NHS. The approach involved the assessment, coordination, monitoring and delivery of services to meet patients' needs with a view to reducing unplanned emergency hospital admissions. This qualitative evaluation of the pilots compared Evercare case management piloted in nine Primary Care Trusts with alternative models used at four other sites. Results showed that case management was highly valued by patients and their carers, but there were few differences in outcome between Evercare and other models.

Lest we forget

I. McMillan

Mental Health Today, Apr. 2009, p. 12-14

The Department of Health's new dementia strategy for England calls for the establishment of a memory service in every town. Memory services identify people with dementia and offer a degree of aftercare. This article looks at a pioneering memory service in Croydon.

Partnership in practice: mental health working with general hospital wards

S. Ashton and C. Carter

Working with Older People, vol. 14, Mar. 2009, p. 32-34

Nearly 70% of hospital beds are occupied by older people and 60% of these will either have or develop a mental health problem. This article describes the development of a mental health liaison service for older people in general hospitals in Gloucestershire.

Seventeen steps: the dementia strategy

J. Manthorpe and S. Iliffe

Mental Health Today, Apr. 2009, p. 25-29

The National Dementia Strategy presents seventeen recommendations, most containing the words 'better' or 'more'. It seeks to transform dementia services in five years in response to a public and media outcry about poor quality care and lack of research. This article asks how these aspirations can be met at a time when resources are limited and there are many competing priorities.

(For an interview with Phil Hope, social care minister for England, about the strategy see Mental Health Today, Apr. 2009, p. 10-11)

UK self-care support initiatives for older patients with long-term conditions: a review

K. Berzins and others

Chronic Illness, vol.5, 2009, p. 56-72

Health policy in England has promoted the development of self-care support initiatives since 1999 with the aim of reducing service costs and improving the quality of patients' lives. Services which can support self-care include advice provision, health education, self-care skills training, self-monitoring facilitation and equipment provision. This review reports the research evidence on the impact of self-care initiatives on patients aged 50 and over. Results show that self-care interventions had positive effects for older participants. However, we do not know how to best support self-care in patients over 75.

Volunteer advocacy with older people who lack mental capacity

N. Mapes

Working with Older People, vol. 13, Mar. 2009, p. 27-30

This article introduces the work of the Mental Capacity Advocacy Project, whose mission is to develop, explore and evaluate a volunteer advocacy service for older people who lack capacity.

Working towards promoting positive mental health and well-being for older people from BME communities

R. Tribe, P. Lane and S. Heasum

Working with Older People, vol. 13, Mar. 2009, p. 35-40

This article identifies some of the key issues that need to be considered when developing services that promote the mental health of older people from black and minority ethnic communities. Services need to combat the damaging effects of discrimination, be culturally appropriate, and offer assistance in overcoming language barriers. The authors emphasise the role of local community organisations in the development of such services.

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