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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2004): Care of the Elderly - UK

CARE HOME TRUTHS

P. Gosling

Public Finance, Dec.12th-18th 2003, p.28-30

Discusses trends in the market for residential care for older people. This is shrinking due to greater emphasis on supporting people at home through domiciliary services. However there may be increased demand in the future for residential care for people with dementia. Demand may also rise as the post-World War II baby boom generation moves towards age and infirmity. A strong increase in self-funding of care home places is also expected as the proportion of elderly house owners grows.

THE CLOSURE OF CARE HOMES FOR OLDER PEOPLE: RELATIVES' AND RESIDENTS' EXPERIENCES AND VIEWS OF THE CLOSURE PROCESS

J. Williams, A. Netten and P. Ware

Personal Social Services Research Unit, 2003 (Discussion paper; 2012/3)

Describes the views of relatives, informal carers and residents on their experiences of home closures and how these could be better managed. Report is critical of councils, which need to set up systems to provide help and advice for residents and guidelines for homeowners. Councils should address any constraints on residents and their supporters in making decisions on relocation. Choice was found to be limited by lack of information on locally available services.

EXTRA CARE HOUSING: GETTING THE FACTS STRAIGHT AND IMPROVING PRACTICE

M. Riseborough and J. Porteus

Housing, Care and Support, vol.6, Nov.2003, p.22-28

Article begins by describing and defining extra care housing for older people. Goes on to consider staffing arrangements, ownership and measures to improve commissioning.

GUIDELINES FOR THE CLOSURE OF CARE HOMES: PREVALENCE AND CONTENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROTOCOLS

J. Williams and A. Netten

Personal Social Services Research Unit, 2003 (Discussion paper; 1861/2)

Report reviews local government guidelines and protocols for the closure of care homes for older people. There is currently no statutory guidance in England. Only two thirds of local authorities were found to have protocols, which varied in length and scope. Report calls for the rationalisation of roles and responsibilities within councils during home closures, and for national guidance on legal matters and on the role of the National Care Standards Commission.

KEEP TAKING THE MEDICINE 2: THE SCANDAL OF OVER MEDICATION OF OLDER PEOPLE IN CARE

P. Burstow

2003

Claims that 22,233 elderly nursing home residents in England are kept under sedation without medical grounds. Prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs by GPs rose by 6.2% between 1999 and 2002 and more than two-thirds of practices missed the government's April 2002 milestone of establishing annual and six monthly reviews of the medication of people over 75. Concludes that care homes are using chemical cocktails to make residents easier to manage.

(For comment see Registered Homes and Services, vol.8, 2003, p.98)

LIVING AT HARTRIGG OAKS: RESIDENTS' VIEWS OF THE UK'S FIRST CONTINUING CARE RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

K. Croucher, N. Pleace and M. Bevan

York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2003

Survey found very high levels of satisfaction with Hartrigg Oaks. Residents valued the privacy, ready availability of help, independence, amenities and safety offered by the retirement village. The social life at Hartrigg Oaks, including the large number of resident-led interest groups, was valued. Most residents also praised the catering and other communal facilities. The pooled financial model, offering the option of fixed fees that would not rise even if they needed to move to the on-site care home also appealed to many residents. Most residents found Hartrigg Oaks "easy" or "very easy" to afford.

A MATTER OF PREFERENCE

V. Burholt and G. Windle

Professional Social Work, Dec.2003, p18-19

Presents results of a survey of older people's preferences for supported living arrangements. Respondents were asked their views on three housing options:

  • residential care;
  • sheltered housing;
  • extra care sheltered housing.

They chose sheltered housing as the preferred option.

REPORT OF A SURVEY OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS CONCERNING UK INSPECTION OF CARE HOMES

K. Lewin and P. Ridout

Liverpool: DLA, 2003

Recommends that annual announced inspections of care homes by the National Care Standards Commission be retained, but that annual unannounced inspections be scrapped. These should be replaced by targeted unannounced inspections made on the basis of complaints or tip-offs. The provision of feedback forms at the conclusion of all inspections should be made a legal requirement, and regulators should not be allowed to make complaints about matters not mentioned in feedback forms. Formal written reports should be produced only when there is significant adverse comment about a home. Finally, there should be continuity of inspectors responsible for given care homes.

VILLAGE PEOPLE

S. Beckett

Guardian Society, 10th December 2003, p8

Article looks at Hartrigg Oaks housing development, north of York, an estate designed for the over-60s based on similar models that have been operating in the US since the 1970s. A continuing care retirement community, completed five years ago by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, the non-profit development consists of 152 one and two-bedroom bungalows and a 42-bed care home. What sets it apart is the way its care package is financed. Most accommodation schemes for the elderly operate on a 'fee for care' basis but at Hartrigg residents pay an annual 'community fee' into a fund that covers communal services and whatever care they may need in the future.

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