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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2000): Care of the Elderly - UK

ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS: A STUDY OF THE OPERATION OF 'LIABLE RELATIVE RULES' WHEN A SPOUSE GOES INTO RESIDENTIAL OR NURSING HOME CARE

P. Thompson and F. Wright

London: Age Concern England, 2000

Report calls for an end to the rules that allow local authorities and the Department of Social Security to pursue spouses of people in residential care for payments towards the costs of accommodation.

ARMCHAIR THEATRE

R. Bullock

Health Service Journal, vol. 110, June 1st 2000, p. 22-23

The government's plan to free beds in the acute sector by discharging elderly people from hospital into private nursing homes are a poor response to a complex problem. Older people may come to fear admission to hospital, seeing it as a prelude to being put in a home. Greater investment in community services would be the best hope of appropriate care for many older people. The government should aim to halve the need for hospital based services for older people in the next three years through a corresponding increase in good community services.

BARRIERS TO MAKING REHABILITATION HAPPEN

D. McNally and L. Hardwick

Managing Community Care, vol. 8, June 2000, p. 28-36

Article describes efforts to develop a joint health and social services strategy for rehabilitation of older people in one local authority area in response to national policy. It notes the effects of competing policy initiatives, of the shift in hospital provision to giving only acute care, and of failure to agree joint responsibility for the future development of such services.

CHARGING FOR CARE IN LATER LIFE

R. Hancock

Leicester: Nuffield Community Care Studies Unit, University of Leicester, 2000

Reports on an analysis of the financial consequences for older people of possible alterations to the means tests for care provided in residential settings and in people's own homes. Making all care free of charge is the most expensive option, benefits the richest group of old people and brings small benefits to the poorest. Raising savings limits gives most help to the middle income group and to home owners, but quite substantial increases in the lower, as well as upper, limits are needed to produce noticeable benefits. Raising the lower capital limit to £60,000 and the upper limit to £100,000 benefits those on middle income more than providing free care, but would cost the government only half as much. Disregarding more income, rather than more capital, benefits the poorest most, gives some benefit to those in the middle, and almost no benefit to the richest.

ELDERLY 'TOO LONG IN HOSPITAL'

T. Womersley

Daily Telegraph, June 21st 2000, p. 2

A report by the Audit Commission says that elderly patients are being denied their independence with longer than necessary hospital stays or needless moves into residential homes. Many were not given the services needed to recover at home and rehabilitation treatment was fragmented.

HOUSING, PUBLIC HEALTH AND COMMUNITY CARE

L. Harrison and F. Heywood

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 3, June 2000, p. 8-13

The introduction of care in the community should have led to increased provision of housing support services to older people, but the trend has been in the opposite direction. Article proposes that information on housing needs should be routinely collected by primary health care workers and fed into the planning process.

LET'S STOP PATRONISING THE PENSIONERS

D. Orr

Independent, Friday Review, May 26th 2000, p. 5

Argues that both major parties in the UK have a prejudiced view of the pensioner as frail, failing and deserving only a blanket and a few pennies.

'LOANS' PLAN FOR ELDERLY RESIDENTIAL CARE

R. Shrimsley

Financial Times, June 15th 2000, p. 2

Reports government plans to allow councils to meet the cost of long term residential care for the elderly and later claim the money back from the person's estate. Ministers are also planning to allow three months state-funded residential treatment before people would be forced to pay for their own care.

THE WAY TO GO HOME

Audit Commission

Audit Commission Publications, 2000-08-02

Rehabilitation services for older people are patchy and poorly co-ordinated even though they can cut costs and reduce the number of emergency hospital admissions. Report calls for health and social services to develop community rehabilitation teams to help people stay at home. Suggests that primary care groups, health authorities and councils pool budgets and appoint a single team manager for local services. Also recommends intermediate facilities to provide a bridge between hospital and home.

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