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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2007): Care of the elderly - UK

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

M. Wigg

Caring Times, July/Aug. 2007, p.14

This article analyses the conflict faced by residential homes between their duty of care to keep vulnerable clients safe from harm and those clients’ rights to liberty and independence. The Department of Health is seeking to have the Mental Capacity Act amended to introduce new procedures for people who lack capacity to make some decisions and need to be deprived of their liberty in their own best interests.

Care homes not subject to the Human Rights Act

J. Landau

Caring Times, July/Aug. 2007, p. 21

In its judgement in the case of YL, the House of Lords has held that private care homes are not subject to the Human Rights Act when caring for service users placed by local authorities. YL had claimed that her eviction from a care home was a breach of her human rights. Her claim depended on showing that the care home was subject to the Human Rights Act.

Dignity in Care

I. Philp

Working with Older People, vol.11, June 2007, p. 11-14

The government's Dignity in Care campaign began in 2006 and includes the establishment of a national network of older people’s champions. This article explains the role of older people's champions in changing organisational culture in health and social care.

Dignity through design: how the architecture can make a difference

J. Sarre

Working with Older People, vol.11, June 2007, p. 28-31

Research has shown that better design of public spaces can empower older people. This article explains the background and thinking behind the award-winning design of New Larchwood, an extra care housing scheme developed by Hanover Housing Association in partnership with Hove City Council, which aims to bring dignity through design to its residents. This new building provides 38 self-contained flats together with communal spaces that facilitate socialising and allow care to be delivered to residents according to their needs.

Financing long term care for older people in England

R. Wittenberg and J. Malley

Ageing Horizons, issue 6, 2007, p.28-32

There is an on-going debate about the best way to fund long-term care for frail older people. This paper discusses and appraises three funding options: private insurance, including public-private partnerships, tax-funded and social insurance models. Social insurance with hypothecation of funds is no longer part of the UK debate, which now focuses on three alternatives: free personal care (adopted in Scotland), the retention of means-tested arrangements in some form, and a partnership model as recommended in the Wanless report.

Housing and care for older people: life in an English purpose-built retirement village

M. Bernard and others

Aging and Society, vol.27, 2007, p.555-578

Retirement communities are a relatively new long-term accommodation and care option in the UK, but policymakers and providers have enthusiastically promoted these developments as being appropriate for both fit and frail older people. As yet, however, there is scant research evidence about what it is like to live in such communities; whether they cater adequately for older people with a wide spectrum of needs and abilities; and if they provide acceptable solutions to older people’s housing and care needs. This paper addresses these questions by discussing the findings of a three-year longitudinal study of the Berryhill Retirement Village in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. It focuses on the housing and care aspects, and explores the residents’ motivations for moving to the village; their views about the accommodation; and their use of, and satisfaction with, the social and leisure amenities. The health and care needs of residents and the formal and informal supports are also featured.

Improving services and support for people with dementia

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2007

(House of Commons papers, session 2006/07; HC 604)

The report estimates that some 560,000 older people in England are living with dementia and that the cost to the NHS and social care is £3.3bn per year. These figures are set to rise steeply as the population ages. The report goes on to detail delays that people experience in getting a diagnosis, both because the stigma of the disease prevents them from approaching their GP and because GPs are ill-equipped to deal with it. Many patients have to wait until they are acutely ill in hospital for a diagnosis. Even in hospitals, mental health screening of older people who appear confused is not routine despite the national service framework requiring it.

(For reaction and comment see Health Service Journal, vol. 117, July 26th 2007, p. 14-15)

A Journey through the years: ageing and social care

R. Jones

Ageing Horizons, issue 6, 2007, p. 42-51

This article traces the history of long-term care for older people in England from the 1940s, when it was offered in large-scale geriatric hospitals and mental health asylums. Smaller residential care and nursing homes appeared in the 1960s, followed by a greater emphasis on community care and assisting people in their own homes in the 1980s. Currently the emphasis has changed again to supporting older people to live independently. The practice philosophy running alongside these changes has moved along a continuum from doing 'to' people, to doing “for” people and then doing “with” people to a current intention that people should have more choice and control and be in charge of planning their own care.

Older people deserve Just Equal Treatment

K. Jopling

Working with Older People, vol. 11, June 2007, p. 24-27

Age discrimination is pervasive in UK society and ageist attitudes and practices are rife in health and social care. The problems are largely the result of an “institutional ageism” that pervades services and operates on a number of levels. This article introduces the Just Equal Treatment campaign launched by Help the Aged in 2007 which aims to lobby government to introduce a single equality bill that outlaws discrimination in all areas of life, not just in the workplace.

The role of assistive technology in achieving dignity, equality and respect

D. Faife

Working with Older People, vol.11, June 2007, p. 20-23

Telecare is a way of bringing health and social care into people’s own homes using the power of information and communications technology (ICT). This article presents a case study of the use of assistive technology by social services in Norfolk.

Securing good care for older people: taking a long-term view

B. Davies

Ageing Horizons, issue 6, 2007, p. 12-27

This paper aims to explain and evaluate two key features of the Wanless report on alternative mechanisms for funding long-term care. One is Wanless’ analytical framework and evaluation methodology which combines quantified knowledge about the levels and mixes of outcomes from mixes of services with citizen valuations of the levels of outcomes. The second key feature is the type of funding model recommended by the report given expected changes in the balance between demands and public expenditure.

Where the poor law lives on

M. Ivory and S. Gillen

Community Care, July 19th 2007, p. 26-28

Cash strapped local authorities are raising the eligibility criteria for home care services, making it more difficult for older people to access the help they need. Voluntary sector alternatives are usually under-resourced and overstretched. As the crisis deepens, the lobby for fundamental reform grows. The ideal would be a move to a personalised approach, where older people with individual budgets would purchase the services they need supported by social workers acting as facilitators and advocates, and by strong community networks.

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