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

12,000 'inheritance levy' to pay for care of elderly

S. Johnson

Daily Telegraph, June 15th 2009, p. 10

Government is consulting on proposals to enable elderly people to pay a 'one-off' levy of 12,000 to the government to cover costs of long-term care. The one-off tax would be either paid at retirement or deducted from the estates of older people when they die. The aim would be to replace the current system which forces many pensioners to sell their homes to fund bills for residential care.

Developing assistive web-base technologies for adults with age-related cognitive impairments

S. Fernando and others

Transforming Government, vol. 3, 2009, p. 131-143

There is considerable interest in using recent developments in information technology to increase the autonomy and independence of older people with age-related disabilities. This paper describes how age-related cognitive impairments could affect the use of web services by older adults. It then explains how such an understanding has been employed to develop an assistive technology which provides an adaptable web browser for older adults with age-related cognitive impairments to improve their interaction with web-base forms. An expert system was developed to monitor user behaviour and adapt and personalise the computer interface as the user interacts with the on-screen form.

Elder care is right up your street

S. Shepherd

Health Service Journal, June 25th 2009, p. 20-21

Community geriatricians offer a holistic expertise and are able to assess older people with complex needs and pathologies where they live in care homes as part of a multidisciplinary team. However, in spite of the massive difference they can make to older people's lives, their numbers are few.

End of life care

Public Accounts Committee

London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09: HC 99)

People approaching the end of their life often require a complex mix of health and social care services provided in hospitals, care homes, hospices and their own home. End of life care is delivered by many people, including families and friends, specialist palliative care staff, and generalist staff such as doctors, nurses, and social workers, for whom end of life care represents a varying proportion of their role. There are no estimates of the full financial cost of end of life care, largely because of difficulties in identifying the proportion of time generalist staff spend with people approaching the end of life. The cost to NHS and social care services of providing care to cancer patients in the 12 months prior to death (27% of deaths) is, however, estimated to be 1.8 billion alone. Most people would prefer not to die in hospital but a lack of NHS and social care support services means that many people do so when there is no clinical need for them to be there. There is a lack of training in basic end of life care amongst frontline staff, many of whom will at some stage come into contact with people nearing the end of their life. The Department of Health has acknowledged that end of life care has not had the priority it should have had, and recognises the need to improve the provision of care for adults. In July 2008, it published its End of Life Care Strategy which commits additional funding of 286 million over two years, and aims to increase the availability of services in the community and develop the skills of health and social care staff. The report examines the scale and quality of end of life care; the current and future approach to commissioning and funding of services; and the capability and capacity of NHS and social care staff to provide such care.

The role of ethnicity in end-of-life care in care homes for older people in the UK: a literature review

F. Badger and others

Diversity in Healthcare, vol. 6, 2009, p. 23-29

Almost one in five members of the UK population dies in a care home, and typically residents suffer from multiple pathologies, with over 60% having cognitive impairment. Care home staff are expected to provide end-of-life care that is compassionate, sensitive and appropriate to the dying person. Black and minority ethnic groups resident in care homes have been identified as having unmet needs in respect of end-of-life care, but little is known about their numbers or the extent to which their end-of-life needs are addressed in line with their cultural requirements. This paper summarises current research evidence.

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