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

DOWN ON YOUR NEEDS

M. Green

Health Service Journal, Vol. 114, May 20th 2004, p.18-19

Health and social services continue to fail to provide statutory assessments of older people's care needs before hospital discharge. This is leading to many patients being placed in inappropriate accommodation.

ELDER ABUSE

Health Committee

London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons papers, session 2003/04; HC111)

Evidence suggests that at any one time 500,000 older people in England are being abused, but few measures have been taken to address the issue. The report recommends:

  • adoption of an agreed definition of elder abuse by all organisations to enable the extent of the problem to be determined;
  • a review of the effectiveness of inspections of NHS establishments caring for older people;
  • measures to ensure compliance with the National Service Framework targets on reviews of prescribed medicines, to root out the practice of sedating troublesome elders in care homes;
  • that adult protection committees should develop measures to detect and root out financial abuse;
  • mandatory training in recognition, reporting and treatment of abuse for all professionals working with older people;
  • registration of domiciliary care workers as a matter of urgency;
  • stricter controls on certification of death of residents in care homes owned by GPs.

IS THE OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING OF ANY HELP TO CARE PROVIDERS OR CONSUMERS?

P. Grose

Caring Times, May 2004, p.12, 14

The article reflects on the Office of Fair Trading's decision not to investigate a complaint from the Consumers' Association that fees paid to care homes by local authorities are excessively low, resulting in self-funding residents being overcharged.

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND

C. Sherratt and S. Younger-Ross

Community Care, Apr. 29th-May 5th 2004, p.40-41

Older people with dementia can benefit from intermediate care but are seldom offered rehabilitation. However, two approaches to service provision are now being developed. "Rescue" or care diversion tackles delayed hospital discharge by transferring people with dementia to specialist rehabilitation units. Preventive services work intensively with clients in their own homes.

PLANNING FOR THE END OF LIFE: THE VIEWS OF OLDER PEOPLE

J. Seymour and others

Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 59, 2004, p.57-68

The paper reports on a study which used focus groups to explore older people's views about advance statements about medical care and their role in end-of-life decision making. Participants regarded advanced statements as having a role in helping their families make decisions about their care. They expressed concern about a perceived link between advanced statements and euthanasia, and the possibility that their preferences for care could change. They did not perceive that during dying they would necessarily be ready to adhere to an advance statement and disengage from their lives.

RAISING THE QUALITY OF HOME CARE: A STUDY OF SERVICE USERS' VIEWS

J. Francis and A. Netten

Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 38, 2004, p.290-305

The paper draws on a small-scale study of service users and providers to examine the aspects of quality of home care of importance to older people, their experiences and barriers to improvement. Six aspects of quality were investigated: reliability, continuity, flexibility, communication and staff attitudes, knowledge and skills. The authors identify potential areas for improvement in the commissioning and organisation of home care, but these have resource implications.

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

J. Manthorpe

Community Care, May 6th-12th 2004, p.36

Under the National Service Framework, the new role of Older People's Champion has emerged. Each local authority should have two champions. The article reports results of research which looked at the development of the role.

WHEN I GET OLDER

Commission for Social Care Inspection

2004

Report is based on a Mori poll which asked people about their attitudes to the social care services they might receive in older age and how services should be inspected. Results show that:

  • 73% of respondents thought that people needing social care should be given money to buy the services they want;
  • people strongly support rigorous inspection;
  • people would prefer to stay in their own home rather than move into sheltered housing or a care home;
  • the most important quality of life choices, wherever people might live, are having one's own room, being free to come and go at will, and friendship and company.
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