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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2001): Care of the Elderly - UK

CAN RESIDENTS STOP THE GREAT HOMES SELL-OFF?

R Winchester

Community Care, no.1362, 2001, p.10-11

Faced with lack of funds to maintain and upgrade their residential care homes for older people, councils are transferring ownership to the private sector. Article describes how residents are fighting to prevent such moves through legal challenges under the Human Rights Act 1998.

CARE HOMES CRISIS COULD HIT YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE

M Court

Times, Apr 6th 2001, p.31

Care homes are faced with mounting costs and regulatory uncertainty. The wave of receiverships hitting the industry has left many residents in limbo. The driving down of fees by local authorities is being blamed by the care home sector for the problems. A rise in the minimum wage will also increase the burden of cost faced by many care home operators and it is feared many more will close before things get better.

COLLABORATION, FACILITIES AND COMMUNITIES IN DAY CARE SERVICES FOR OLDER PEOPLE

S Burch and C Borland

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.9, 2001, p.19-30

Paper reports on the process of carrying out a randomised controlled trial of different models of day care for older people. The trial compared the outcome of rehabilitation in a day hospital setting with social services day centres supplemented by visiting therapists. Paper focuses on the difficulties and opportunities encountered in the process of attempting to integrate health and social care provision in a day care setting. It is argued that although day care initially appears to offer myriad opportunities for professional collaboration, there are many practical and cultural problems to be overcome if such an approach is to be successful.

FEES PAID TO GPs FOR SERVICES PROVIDED TO RESIDENTS OF CARE ACCOMMODATION FOR OLDER PEOPLE, 2000-2001

Association of Charity Officers

Potters' Bar: 2001

Reports that many older people in care homes and sheltered housing are being asked to pay to see an NHS doctor. An investigation of 183 charitable homes showed that 34% were paying retainers of up to £10,000 a year for services. Fees averaging £41.00 a year for each resident were commonly introduced at the request of GPs who were already collecting £45.05 from the NHS for each patient on their list over the age of 75. Although homes were meeting part of the cost from their charitable income, many were obliged to pass on charges to residents. This breaches the principle that NHS services should be provided free at the point of use according to need.

FRAMEWORK PUTS CARE FOR OLDER PEOPLE ON COURSE FOR REFORM

J Pearce

Community Care, no.1366, 2001, p.2-3

Summaries eight national service framework standards:

  • rooting out age discrimination;
  • a single assessment process and integrated commissioning and service provision;
  • promotion of intermediate care;
  • improved services for stroke victims;
  • joint preventive action on falls;
  • access to integrated NHS and council mental health services;
  • programme of joint action for the promotion of health and active life;
  • specialist care delivered by appropriately trained hospital staff.

GROWING THE CARE BUSINESS

J Smith

Registered Homes & Services, vol.5, 2001, p.164-166

Article looks at Blanchworth care, a rapidly developing care home company thriving in the care home market. Discusses the management and administrative methods adopted by the company and looks at the diverse areas that it covers which include: rehabilitation; domiciliary care; respite; day centres and assisted living. The company has based itself in a local authority which it believes has a sensible attitude towards the private sector.

INTERMEDIATE CARE

Department of Health

London: 2001 (Health Service Circular 2001/01)

Intermediate care services must meet the following criteria:

  • they are targeted at people who would otherwise face unnecessarily prolonged hospital stays or inappropriate admission to an acute hospital or care home;
  • they are provided on the basis of a comprehensive assessment, resulting in a structured individual care plan;
  • they are planned to maximise independence and typically to allow patients to return home;
  • they are time-limited, normally lasting no longer than 6 weeks;
  • they involve cross-professional working with a single assessment framework, single professional records and a shared protocol.

NATIONAL SERVICE FRAMEWORK FOR OLDER PEOPLE

Department of Health

2001

NHS services will be provided regardless of age on the basis of clinical need alone. By the end of 2004, hospital trusts will be expected to have provided an extra 70,000 cataract operations, 16,000 hip and knee replacements and 3,000 heart operations. General hospitals will be expected to provide stroke services for all patients. By October 2001, all NHS departments will be required to have carried out an assessment of their policies regarding treatment of the elderly to make sure that no decision is made on the basis of a person's age. Each NHS Trust will be required to appoint an executive director to carry out this policy. Older people will be appointed to every patient forum to represent their views.

THE OLD AREN'T FOOLED BY THIS NHS NUMBERS GAME

T Utley

Daily Telegraph, Mar 28th 2001, p.25

Argues that the National Service Framework for Older People will be ineffective in improving care of the elderly in the NHS because insufficient funding has been allocated to sustain better services.

RELYING ON INFORMAL CARE IN THE NEW CENTURY? INFORMAL CARE FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE IN ENGLAND TO 2031

L Pickard et al

Ageing and Society, vol.20, 2000, p.745-772

A computer simulation model based on the Government Actuary's Department (GAD) 1996-based marital status projections indicates that more elderly people are likely to receive informal care than previously assumed. This is because the GAD figures project a fall in the number of widows and a rise in the number of elderly women with partners. This implies that "spouse carers" are likely to become increasingly important. Article concludes by outlining three possible scenarios around informal care:

  • increasing support to carers;
  • decline in co-resident care by children;
  • fall in the supply of informal care leading to an increase in institutional care.

RISE IN CARE HOME FEES TO BE DOUBLED

N Timmins

Financial Times, Apr 4th 2001, p.5

A shortage of places in care and nursing homes has led to the government announcement that fees are to be raised. The current number of places need to be maintained so that the governments National Health Service plan is not jeopardised. 6000 beds were lost in the care home sector in 1999 and the figures for 2000 are expected to be similar. Homes have been closing because "of short-sighted purchasing policies by a lot of local authorities who have been driving down fees", which has resulted in many blocked hospital beds.

SINGING FROM THE SAME HYMN SHEET

J Stevenson

Community Care, no.1366, 2001, p.22-23

The new Department of Health guidance for intermediate care focuses on development of short and time-limited interventions. For intermediate care to be successful, it must be integrated with existing acute and community services, be supported by pooled health and social care budgets, and be flexible and tailored to individual assessed needs.