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

Elderly may be told to pay 60,000 for care

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 16th 2012, p. 1 + 2

A report by a Department of Health working group seen by the newspaper proposed that an upper limit of 60,000 should be set on the contribution that older people would be required to make to the cost of their own care. Working adults would be expected to take out private insurance, buy a house which could be used later to fund care, or save into a pension. Regular awareness campaigns would alert working age adults to the need to plan ahead to cover care costs.

End this elderly care scandal

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 3rd 2012, p. 1

In a letter to the newspaper, more than 60 government advisers, charity directors and independent experts called for urgent reform of the social care system for frail older adults. They argued that the system was failing to meet the needs of the increasing number of older adults needing care, leading to terrible examples of abuse and neglect, with family carers being pushed to breaking point. They called for the early implementation of the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission to remedy the situation.

Fund to help older patients leave hospital

D. Brindle

The Guardian, Jan. 2nd 2012, p. 4

The government announced a further 170m of funding for councils in January 2012, to help them improve care and support for elderly people coming out of hospital. The boost came after a healthcare thinktank warned that the NHS stood no chance of hitting its 20bn efficiency savings target unless steps were taken to curb a rise in elderly patients occupying hospital beds longer than necessary. Local government leaders welcomed the one-off payment, which was to be spent over the following three months, but warned that the social care funding system could not go on being patched up without fundamental reform.

Gardening and the social engagement of older people

S. Middling and others

Working with Older People, vol. 15, 2011, p. 112-122

When compared to the older population as a whole, older residents of disadvantaged urban communities are more likely to experience poor health, poverty, social isolation, vulnerability to crime and a lack of opportunities to engage in civic activities. This paper identifies ways in which community action can enhance the quality of life of older urban residents and reports specifically on four community gardening initiatives developed with older people living in disadvantaged communities in Manchester. It provides evidence on how older people can be actively engaged in community projects, and explores the benefits of involvement, including enhanced well-being and increased socialisation, learning and empowerment.

Hospitals urged to check for neglect

S. Adams

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 27th 2012, p. 1

A group of experts, led by the head of the Care Quality Commission, wrote to ministers asking them to ensure that hospitals always noted the presence of bedsores, falls and infections when elderly patients were admitted, and added that information to their electronic records. The letter argued that such a system, described as a 'present on admission' (POA) flag, would act as an early warning of poor quality care in nursing and residential homes. Figures suggested that large numbers of patients were admitted to hospital with problems that originated in care homes.

Let's take the fear out of paying for elderly care

A. Dilnot

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 17th 2012, p. 20

Public policy has failed over the past 60 years to create proper and effective systems to deliver care for older people. The author argues that older people should expect to contribute to the costs of their own care, but the government should put a cap on the total costs any individual should bear. Such a cap would encourage care providers and financial services to create new and innovative products to help people prepare to cover care costs in old age.

Supporting vulnerable adults: citizenship, capacity, choice

A. Stewart

Edinburgh: Dunedin, 2012

The book examines theories of citizenship, capacity and choice when supporting vulnerable adults and uses the impact of the early implementation of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 as a model. The main themes are the extent of the reach of the state and the appropriateness of this, with a discussion of the tension between autonomy and protection and consideration of whether or not vulnerability impacts on the human rights of individuals. Concepts of harm and abuse are explored. Key questions answered include: does diminished intellectual capacity limit your rights as a citizen? Does vulnerability, and being at risk of harm or abuse, limit capacity? The author also explores whether the introduction of such legislation compromises individuals' free will and choice. The book bases itself around the Scottish legislation and draws on the emerging results of empirical research undertaken by the author over the first two years following its implementation, the first of its kind in the UK. This provides a unique focus for the central debate on autonomy and protection and the link to citizenship and capacity.

Total Place - services and support for older people: one year on

A. Archibald

Working with Older People, vol. 15, 2011, p. 106-111

In August 2009, the sub-region of Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole was selected to participate in a pilot project called Total Place. This initiative was funded by the government of the day to examine how services could be improved and provided at less cost by bringing all public sector organisations in an area together to work in partnership around a specific theme. The final report on the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole pilot, which focused on improving services for older people, was published in February 2010. This paper describes how Dorset has moved forward with addressing some of the issues raised in the report.

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