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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2011): Care of the elderly - UK

100,000 elderly and disabled adults 'abused by their carers'

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 4th 2011, p. 10

Data collected from 151 councils by the NHS Information Centre showed that 96,000 adults had suffered abuse in 2010/11. Forty-two per cent of the cases were reported to have taken place in the victim's own home. More than 34,000 vulnerable adults were reported to have suffered physical abuse while almost 27,000 cases of neglect were reported. Almost one in four cases involved financial abuse, including misappropriation of benefits. Social or healthcare workers were the alleged perpetrators in 29% of cases while family members were suspected of being the abusers in 25%. Four in ten completed investigations were found to have been fully or partly substantiated and more than a quarter were inconclusive.

Ageing well in the 21st century

D. Robotham

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, vol.12, 2011, p. 133-140

This literature review examines the impact that the ageing of the baby boom population will have in relation to public mental health and mental health services in the UK. Mental health in later life can be influenced by wealth, discrimination, relationships, physical health and participation in meaningful activity. The review appraises each aspect in relation to baby boomers' lives. The baby boomers appear wealthier than their parents, but will live for longer in a state of poor physical health, and will have smaller families separated by greater distances. The number of people diagnosed with dementia will rise, itself producing enormous economic stress on the health system. Many baby boomers will not have enough money to retire when they planned, and may continue to work to pay for services and care. Baby boomers in positions of political influence are already shaping the future of health and social care provision through initiatives such as personalisation.

Audit of fidelity of clinicians to the Mental Capacity Act in the process of capacity assessment and arriving at best interests decisions

O. Sorinmade and others

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, vol. 12, 2011, p. 174-179

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 empowers individuals to make legally binding decisions about their property, affairs and personal welfare. It also provides for the planning of interventions in the best interests of those found to lack decision-making capacity. Two years after the implementation of the Act in 2007, an audit was carried out to evaluate health professionals' fidelity to the Act's principles in relation to determining mental capacity and arriving at best interests decisions. The results highlight the need for health professionals to better adhere to the principles of the Act in both areas.

Changes over time: the motivations of independent-sector care-home managers and owners in England between 1994 and 2003

T. Matosevic and others

Ageing and Society, vol. 31, 2011, p. 1389-1405

Over the last decade, care home services in England have gone through major changes, including marketisation, introduction of competition and greater regulation. This paper aims to explore whether, in consequence, the motivations of independent-sector residential care providers have changed over time. More specifically, it investigates whether previously prevalent altruistic or public service motivations might have turned into more self-interested concerns. Data were collected over eight English local authorities using face-to-face interviews and postal questionnaires. The results indicate that, although local care home markets underwent some major changes, individuals' motivations remained relatively stable. Further analysis of the relationship between motivations and the social care market environment suggested that, while voluntary sector providers remained primarily driven by caring motivations and were less concerned about income maximisation and professional development, private sector home managers and owners were more focused on financial and professional issues and on maintaining their independence in running their home.

Close to home: an inquiry into older people and human rights in home care

Equality and Human Rights Commission


This year-long inquiry into standards of care for elderly people at home has uncovered evidence of pensioners being deprived of food and drink, handled roughly, humiliated and even robbed. The report estimates that only half of the 500,000 people receiving home care are satisfied with the quality of their support. Based on evidence from 1,254 individuals, local authorities, care providers and other groups in England, the report found that: older people were not being given adequate support to eat and drink, while a shortage of time for visits meant that some were suffering from neglect; carers showed chronic disregard for older people's privacy and dignity; staff 'talked over' older people, sometimes on mobile phones, or patronised them; some older people were subjected to physical abuse, including 'rough handling' and 'unnecessary force'; and money was systematically stolen over a period of time. Many incidents amounted to abuses of human rights which left elderly people profoundly depressed, in tears, and even wishing to die.

Council cuts to elderly care fees ruled illegal

T. Ross and N. Bunyan

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 10th 2011, p. 12

A judge ruled that Sefton Council in Merseyside had acted illegally when it arbitrarily froze its payments to residential care homes for places for frail elderly people in 2011/12 following cuts in funds from central government. The decision was ruled illegal because the council had failed to engage in any meaningful negotiation with the providers. It was anticipated that councils across the country who had used the same tactic to save money could face an additional bill of 1bn for care services.

Dementia doctors may face jail for using chemical cosh

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 2nd 2011, p. 1

In 2010 the government set a target for reducing the use of psychotic drugs to sedate elderly residents with dementia in care homes. However evidence suggested that the target had been missed and government then considered changing the law so that prescription of antipsychotic drugs would have to comply with deprivation of liberty safeguards under the Mental Capacity Act. Under the plans, staff would be forced to apply for permission to use the drugs from a primary care trust or local authority.

The 'Dilnot' proposals: behind the headlines

P. Thompson

Elder Law Journal, vol.1, 2011, p. 389-394

This article presents an overview of the proposals in the Dilnot report of July 2011 for reform of social care funding. In responding to the proposals the government said that it would need to consider the funding required to implement them against other calls on constrained public resources. A White Paper on funding reform has been postponed until Spring 2012 and may only present a report on progress with consultation with the sector rather than substantive proposals.

Elderly care cut as councils divert cash

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 21st 2011, p. 10

Care services minister Paul Burstow has accused local authorities of unnecessarily cutting funding for social care for frail elderly people. He argued that the councils had failed to pass on 2bn extra funding allocated by central government for the support of frail and disabled adults. The extra 2bn, announced in the 2010 spending review, was not ring fenced, and charities claimed that the money was diverted to plug gaps in other council budgets.

Families and carers pay most of 34bn bill for dementia

N. Collins

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 28th 2011, p. 18

The cost of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in Britain has risen to 34bn a year. The cost of health and social care for the estimated 955,000 people with dementia amounts to 13,000 per person, significantly higher than the European average with only Sweden and Luxembourg spending more. It is estimated that informal care by families and friends costs 21bn per year. However, it is reliance on expensive care homes rather than informal arrangements that makes dementia care in Britain more expensive than in the rest of Europe. The annual bill for residential and nursing home care in Britain is estimated at 11bn and hospital inpatient care for dementia costs 1.2bn, which is more than any other country.

Hidden lives: the importance of recognising the needs and experiences of older Lesbians and gay men within healthcare practice

L.-A. Fenge and C. Hicks

Diversity in Health and Care, vol.8, 2011, p. 147-154

To date, only a limited number of studies of older Lesbians and gay men have been undertaken in the UK. There has been a lack of awareness and training regarding issues of diversity in ageing for many healthcare professionals despite a growing emphasis on personalised approaches. Older Lesbian and gay people may experience discrimination because of their age and sexual orientation, and may experience heterosexism and homophobia from care providers. This study considers the fears that many older Lesbian and gay people have about accessing healthcare, including fear of disclosure and 'coming out'. It discusses the importance of providing an atmosphere that is inclusive of diversity, and which emphasises validation and unprejudiced acceptance. It considers the importance of person-centred approaches within healthcare that value individual difference.

Home help checks to protect the elderly

M. Beckford

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 22nd 2011, p. 8

Plans have been announced for Care Quality Commission inspectors to visit older people at home to monitor the quality of care they receive amid growing concerns that they are abused and neglected by poorly paid and trained staff. Inspectors will also carry out unannounced visits to the providers' offices.

Ministers 'lack courage' to reform elderly care

M. Beckford

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 17th 2011, p. 2

More than four months after the publication of his report on reform of social care funding in July 2011, Andrew Dilnot accused the government of lacking the courage to implement desperately needed reforms. There was growing concern that ministers were attempting to ignore the problem due to fears about the cost of the reforms proposed by Dilnot to the taxpayer.

Misery for millions as elderly care funds cut

T. Ross and R, Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 28th 2011, p. 1 + 2

In 2010 the Chancellor George Osborne promised an extra 2bn for councils to spend on care for older and disabled people. An independent analysis of government figures suggests that this money, which was not ringfenced, was not used to support frontline services. Instead councils have cut spending on social care for older adults by 17%. Moreover, a separate survey by Age UK has found that two-thirds of local authorities were increasing fees for services such as meals on wheels and home care. At the same time they were refusing to increase the fees paid to residential care providers.

Personalised befriending support for older people

J. Mulvihill

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, vol. 12, 2011, p. 180-183

This article presents evidence of the many benefits which older people gain from accessing befriending services and calls for more to be commissioned. Such schemes reduce isolation and loneliness and improve health and well-being by offering a preventive form of support. As they are largely staffed by volunteers, they are ideally placed to play a role in the coalition government's Big Society plans.

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