Book News: April 13th, 2006

This report from the Healthcare Commission, the Audit Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection, assesses progress five years into a 10 year Government plan to improve services for people over the age of 50. At this halfway stage, none of the communities inspected had reached all Government-set milestones to enable them to meet the standards in the national service framework.The review found improvements in how most public services are addressing age discrimination. All communities inspected had taken steps to ensure that policies and eligibility criteria for access to services did not discriminate against older people. More people, who have had a stroke, have access to good quality hospital care. But more still needs to be done to improve rehabilitation outside hospital and access to specialist units. More people are supported to live at home. There is a reduction in the number of older people admitted to care homes, with health and social care services supporting more frail older people to live independently.

The review also found areas of concern. There is evidence of a lack of priority being given to the needs of older people when planning and commissioning services. For example, local authorities were not considering the needs of older people in planning public transport. And podiatry and foot care services were given a very low priority from primary care trusts, resulting in older people losing mobility and becoming socially isolated. There was also evidence of a lack of dignity and respect in the way older people are treated when in hospital. Many older people experienced poorly managed discharge after being rushed through the system, repetitive moving from one ward to another to free up surgical beds, and having meals taken away before they can eat them due to a lack of support at meal times.

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