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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2012): Care of the elderly - UK

Abuse hotline for care homes has 2,000 calls in six months

J. Laurance

The Independent, Dec. 12th 2011, p. 15

A hotline set up to report abuse of care-home residents has received more than 2,000 calls by members of staff in its first six months. The volume of calls has surprised officials at the Care Quality Commission, which set up the hotline following the discovery of abuse at Winterbourne View Care Home in Bristol.

At home with the care services

J. Porteous

Health Service Journal, Dec. 15th 2011, p. 24-25

There is mounting evidence that providing older people with housing appropriate to their changing needs for care and support can save money in health and social care budgets. It also helps older people maintain their independence in their own home. Recent policy documents in this area emphasise the opportunity presented by the arrival of health and well being boards, which can forge local partnerships to provide more specialist housing.

Elderly care reforms 'wait until 2025'

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 14th 2011, p. 1 + 2

Advisers of the health secretary admitted that key parts of the planned reform of the care system for older an disabled adults might not come into effect until 2025, despite warnings that the system was already in crisis. The Treasury was believed to be reluctant to fund the reform proposals presented by the Dilnot Commission, which would cost an estimated 1.7bn a year.

The employment of migrant workers in long-term care: the dynamics of choice and control

I. Shutes

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 41, 2012, p. 43-59

Social changes have led to increased reliance on migrant workers in long-term care for frail older adults. Reforms have also promoted greater choice and control for users as well as cost containment. Less attention, however, has been given to choice and control for those who provide care, including migrant workers. This article addresses the question of how immigration controls shape the exercise of choice and control by migrant workers over their labour, thereby structuring who provides care and under what conditions. It begins by examining the concept of choice for users in care markets. It then extends the concept to consider choice for migrant workers in care labour markets with regard to the ways in which immigration controls condition choice over labour mobility. It then draws on the findings of in-depth interviews carried out with different categories of immigrant care workers to explore their experiences. It is argued that the differential rights accorded to migrants on the basis of citizenship and immigration status shape, first, entry into particular types of care work, second, powers of exit, and third 'voice' regarding the conditions under which care labour is provided.

Implementing the National Dementia Strategy in England: evaluating innovative practices using a case study methodology

T. Koch and S. Iliffe

Dementia, vol. 10, 2011, p. 487-498

The National Dementia Strategy for England emphasises the need for innovative approaches to diagnosis and support in the primary care setting and proposes to establish 40 demonstrator sites of new services. However, neither the National Strategy, nor research evidence provide guidance on how to evaluate unique, innovative practices, how to attribute value to each one, and therefore how to know which intervention is worth implementing on a larger scale. As a contribution to the debate about implementation of the Strategy, this article explores the potential of case study methods to evaluate some innovative approaches to diagnosis or management pathways adopted by GPs. Using these case studies as examples, it attempts to demonstrate the difficulties not just of evaluating innovative practices, but also of comparing innovations for the purpose of deciding which to implement.

MPs fear rerun of crisis that led to collapse of Southern Cross

R. Syal

The Guardian, Dec. 6th 2011, p. 8

The government has been warned it must get to grips with the 'very real risks' to the care home market if it is to avoid another Southern Cross scandal. A parliamentary committee was expected to say that the Department of Health (DoH) had failed to tackle the social care market following the collapse of Southern Cross earlier in 2011. It would claim it was 'deeply worrying' that the government had failed to make clear what would happen if another provider got into financial difficulty. Southern Cross Healthcare was the largest provider of care homes and long-term care beds in the UK, operating 750 care homes, before it announced its impending closure in July 2011

(See also The Independent, Dec. 6th 2011, p. 31)

Report of the National Audit of Dementia Care in general hospitals 2011

Royal College of Psychiatrists Centre for Quality Improvement.

Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, 2011

Data were gathered from 210 hospitals in England and Wales, a sample of 145 wards, and more than 2,000 staff questionnaires. The results showed that staff ignored patients' requests for help and failed to greet or talk to them during care, or explain what they were doing. Mostly dementia patients were not treated as individuals. More than a quarter of dementia patients received anti-psychotic medication in hospital, even though these drugs should not be prescribed. Two thirds of hospital staff said that they lacked training in the care of dementia patients, particularly in respect of communication and dealing with aggressive behaviour.

Rise in 'bed blocking' is costing the NHS 500,000 every day

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 2nd 2011, p. 18

Rates of 'bed blocking' in hospitals rose by 16% in 2010/11 due to a growing shortage of places in residential care homes. The rise cost the NHS an estimated 239m between August 2010 and October 2011. The sharp rise in bed blocking followed six years in which delays in discharging elderly patients from hospital grew less common. The rise in 2010/11 was attributed by campaigners to councils cutting their budgets for elderly care and to a growing number of nursing home closures.

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