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

CARE HOMES USE "CHEMICAL COSH" ON THE ELDERLY

N Martin

Daily Telegraph, July 23rd 2001, p.7.

A report compiled by the Department of Health in response to a Parliamentary Question shows that prescriptions of sedative drugs for the elderly rose by 70% between 1999 and 2000. These drugs are used to control disturbed behaviour in patients, especially those suffering from dementia. It is widely believed that their use has increased due to acute staff shortages in care homes.

(See also Independent, July 23rd 2001, p.6).

FREE NURSING CARE

Anon

Registered Homes and Services, vol.6, 2001, p.33-34.

Summaries draft guidelines on the implementation of free nursing care in care homes. Some of the key points are:

  • Primary Care Trusts or Health Authorities will manage both the budget for free nursing care (by a nursing home co-ordinator) and the assessments of need for nursing care (by a "lead nurse");
  • the budget for free nursing care will be capped;
  • nursing care for short term stays in care homes will not be funded by the NHS;
  • the level of nursing care need will be determined by the Registered Nurse Care Contribution Tool, which will determine three bands of care: high, medium and low;
  • self-funders may opt out of NHS funded nursing care or pay for care additional to the NHS assessment of need;
  • anyone choosing to enter a care home will pay the full cost of nursing care;
  • nursing care is defined as care provided by a registered nurse only.

GLAD TO BE GREY?

D Walker

Guardian, Aug. 8th 2001, p.13.

Discusses how the Labour government is trying to rectify the inequality between rich and poor pensioners.

HRA COULD HALT HOME CLOSURES - QC

Anon

Registered Homes and Services, vol.6, 2001, p.35.

Reports that a leading QC (Richard Gordon) has expressed the opinion that the Human Rights Act may be used to halt or delay plans to close residential homes. Independent sector providers acting as agents for a local or health authority may be judged as falling within the Human Rights Act and find their activities subject to judicial review.

SCOTTISH CARE HOMES ROW WIDENS

A Pryde

Public Finance, Aug. 3rd-9th 2001, p.11.

The row over a rise in Scottish nursing home fees is deepening. Joe Campbell of Scottish Care has said he will call for the removal of local authorities if the current crisis continues.

SMALL PRINT REVEALS LIMITS TO FREE NURSING CARE

J Pearce

Community Care, no.1384, 2001, p.10-11.

Draft government guidance on the introduction of free nursing care for older people in residential homes defines this as care provided by a registered nurse, excluding care provided by health care assistants. Three bands of care for self-funded nursing home residents are proposed, but there are concerns that not enough funding has been allocated to cover real costs. A mechanism called the Registered Nurse Contribution tool has been developed to determine how much care is provided by a registered nurse in an individual's care package. This will be applied by teams of nurses employed to do assessments by health authorities or primary care trusts.

(See also Health Service Journal, vol.111, Aug. 9th 2001, p.12-13).

THE WRONG PRESCRIPTION

R Winchester

Community Care, no.1385, 2001, p.23.

There is evidence that anti-psychotic drugs are being overprescribed for older people in residential homes, particularly those suffering from dementia or mental health problems. These drugs keep patients with challenging behaviour calm, quiet and easier for doctors and nurses to handle.