Help The Aged
Report shows that age discrimination is endemic in social care, social security, the NHS and transport. In social care, cost ceilings (upper limits on expenditure amounts) are significantly lower for older people compared to younger users. Age is also used to ration health care, with upper age limits for hospital services including bypass operations, kidney dialysis and routine breast screening. People who become disabled over the age of 65 do not receive the mobility component attached to the benefit, and the qualifying period for older claimants of disability benefits is longer than for younger people.
D. Carne, N Barnett and M. Denham
Health Service Journal, vol. 112, Mar. 7th 2002, p. 30-31
An NHS/housing association joint venture has produced good accommodation for 30 elderly people in need of long term care. The housing organisation takes responsibility for support services such as laundry, cleaning, security and catering, but the unit remains part of the NHS. Patients appreciate the environment and staff turnover is low.
Primary Care Report, vol. 4, no. 4, Mar. 6th 2002, p. 44-46
Government has introduced minimum standards for care homes to come into force in April 2002. These may lead to a reduction in available beds in private nursing homes. This will in turn undermine moves by primary care organisations to utilise spare capacity in private nursing homes to free up NHS acute beds.
Department of Health
London: TSO, 2002
Document sets out the national minimum standards for care homes for older people, which form the basis on which the new National Care Standards Commission will determine whether such homes meet the needs, and secure the welfare and social inclusion, of the people that live there.
Working with Older People, Vol. 5, Dec. 2001, p. 8-28
Social services still fail to respond to the differing cultures and lifestyles of older minority ethnic groups. This collection of articles describes a number of targeted projects, including Najivan, a well-established service to Asian elders in Leicester, the work of an Age Concern minority ethnic development officer in North West London, initiatives to meet minority ethnic needs by Brent Social Services Department, and a research project in Manchester that described the views of Chinese and Asian elders on quality services.
Department of Health
This statutory guidance to the National Care Standards Commission has been issued to ensure that the application of the new standards does not lead to the closure of good quality homes. It says that the Commission should consider whether care homes can fulfil the needs of service users without making environmental changes to meet the standards. The guidance particularly covers issues of room size, lifts, baths and shared rooms.
(For comment see Caring Times, Mar. 2002, p. 4)
Health Service Journal, vol. 112, Feb. 28th 2002, p. 13-14
Following a survey of hospital trusts and social services departments, the Women's Royal Voluntary Service is planning to extend its services to support preventive and intermediate care for older people. It has launched initiatives to develop "community help schemes", bringing together services to support preventive care, and "home-from-hospital" schemes, offering help to newly discharged patients.
Financial Times, Mar. 12th 2002, p. 4
Many nursing homes have pocketed the £100m a year extra government funding that is being put in for free nursing care instead of passing it on to residents in reduced bills. To counter this practice, government has ordered homes to give a breakdown of costs on their bills for patients.
(See also Times, Mar. 12th 2002, p. 15)
E. Roberts, J. Robinson and L. Seymour
London: King's Fund, 2002
Calls for legislation to make age discrimination in health and social services illegal. Argues that efforts to eradicate ageist practices must be also be backed up by funding for staff education and training and a clear definition of what constitutes unacceptable behaviour.
London: Centre for Policy on Ageing, 2002
Two-thirds of older people are now home owners, with the proportion likely to increase to three quarters by 2010. Private sector sheltered housing is often better located and designed than public sector schemes. Many older people find benefits from using it, such as proximity to people of similar age, and the opportunity to relinquish responsibility for maintenance. Housing policy for older people has tended to focus on low income groups. Policy makers should instead consider their housing needs across all tenures, as certain characteristics of old age are common to all, regardless of economic status.
A. Clarke and L. Bright
London: Counsel and Care, 2002
Finds that the fine line between restraint and abuse is constantly crossed by overworked and underpaid nursing home staff. Residents have their walking frames removed and bed rails are used as a means of controlling movement. Drugs are used to sedate troublesome residents and electronic tagging is being promoted as a means of controlling those who wander.
Health Service Journal, vol. 112, Feb. 28th 2002, p. 14-15
Describes how Trent NHS region is pioneering a "collaborative methodology" to develop services to meet the needs of older people.
Financial Times, Mar. 6th 2002, p. 6
The Shadow Health Secretary Dr Liam Fox has argued that bed blocking in the NHS is due to a shortage of care home places. Care homes have been closing under the impact of new minimum standards and underfunded social services departments have lacked resources to purchase sufficient places.
Caring Times, Mar. 2002, p. 8-9
Describes the administrative confusion faced by care home owners attempting to register with the National Care Standards Commission.
Social Policy Ageing Information Network
Help the Aged, 2001
Claims that social care for older people is chronically underfunded and so subject to rationing. People with moderate care needs or with live-in carers are denied help, while even those in greatest need often have to go on a waiting list. Low cost ceilings on individual care packages result in poor quality care, inflexible services and restricted choice. Calls for an increase in state spending on social care, and a comprehensive review funding for services for older people, in parallel with increased investment in the NHS.