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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2010): Care of the elderly - UK

Chemical cosh will be cut for dementia sufferers

R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 29th 2010, p. 1

As part of a government drive to upgrade dementia care, a group of 45 organisations has formed a coalition called the Dementia Action Alliance and has pledged to improve patients' lives. The organisations in the coalition have signed up to seven aims put forward by patients and their carers, including having more control over decisions, feeling valued and understood, and being part of a community. The Department of Health and several care home groups have also pledged to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs to control dementia sufferers.

Cold winter fuel for the elderly may be cut

M. Savage

The Independent, Oct. 14th 2010, p. 16

Emergency payments to help thousands of Britain's poorest pensioners and families pay for heating during cold snaps may be cut as part of the coalition government's spending review. Cold weather payments, handed to people on low incomes when temperatures drop below zero for a week, have been paid at a rate of 25 for the last 2 years in the face of raising fuel bills, but could now sink to the traditional level of 8.50.

(See also The Guardian, Oct. 14th 2010, p. 10 and The Times, Oct. 14th 2010, p.18)

Fuse is lit on Scotland's free care policy

J. Dunning

Community Care, Sept. 30th 2010, p. 22-23

The future of Scotland's free personal care policy for older people is in doubt as resources dry up and costs continue to mount. Free personal care cost 353m in 2008/09 compared to 194m in 2003/04. There are calls to reduce home care costs by investing more in early intervention services.

Quality improvement, personalisation and regulation in care homes

C. Bowman

Journal of Care Services Management, vol.4, 2010, p. 302-309

Personalisation in care homes for older people may be advanced by developing the role of the regulator to be the custodian of licensing and of a care code that covers risk and safety. This would sharpen the role and responsibility of commissioners and allow care providers to move on from merely meeting minimum standards to developing personalisation. Underpinning this would be the institution of a standardised assessment process that would give firm outcome measures that could be supplemented by user feedback.

Reablement charges

V. Pitt

Community Care, Sept. 23rd 2010, p. 4-5

A Freedom of Information request answered by 96 of England's 152 councils has shown that one in five is illegally charging older service users for reablement packages of care. The government has promised guidance instructing councils not to charge. Councils could face bills of thousands of pounds in repayments.

Slicing up the pie: allocation of central government funding for care of older people

R. Darton and others

Social Policy and Administration, vol.44, 2010, p. 529-553

A variety of approaches to allocating funding for older people's services has been used over the years, most recently founded on 'needs-based' formulae. In 2004 the Department of Health commissioned research to help inform the improvement and updating of the formula. The results of individual level analyses were compared with the results obtained from analyses of small area (ward level) data on service users. Both analyses were affected by problems of data availability, particularly the individual level analysis, and the government decided that the formula calculations should be based on the results of the small area analysis. However, despite the differences in approach, both methods produced very similar results. This article discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

Unpaid carers hold the key to sustainable social care: is it time they got the credit?

A. Fox and G. Conochie

Journal of Care Services Management, vol.4, 2010, p. 270-279

Most of the social care provided in the UK is delivered by unpaid family members, to the detriment of their own physical and mental health. Providing extra support to carers to sustain the role could save hundreds of millions of pounds in residential care costs. Carers need access to universal services such as information and advice and short breaks for respite. Additionally, the authors propose a system of direct payments to carers for use in purchasing services that would sustain their own health and employment.

Why care homes have a vital future role

M. Parsons

Journal of Care Services Management, vol. 4, 2010, p. 295-301

Government policy on the care of older people prioritises enabling them to remain in their own homes. This article argues that residential homes have an important complementary role to play in providing end of life care and dementia care. They also combat loneliness and social isolation, and unblock expensive acute care beds.

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