By Debbie le Quesne

Pass the parcel – new challenge facing the elderly

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It’s good to know that the Department of Health is addressing the problems with elderly care.

But is this issue one of funding as you’d expect? No. It’s because our national treasures is being passed around hospitals in England like parcels.

And worse, they are often going without treatment because of ageist attitudes, the think tank King’s Fund report suggests.

How sad, the King’s Fund review said treatable conditions such as incontinence and depression were sometimes ignored.

And even diseases like cancer and heart disease were not always tested for, it added.

In a news feed report on our own website, a Department of Health spokesman said addressing problems with elderly care was a key priority for the NHS.

It appears there obstacles in the way of putting these elderly people first and now reforms are afoot.

The King’s Fund report is based on patient surveys and evidence from staff.

The Patients Association and Care Quality Commission have also published studies recently detailing “shocking” standards.

If our elderly are not safely cared for in hospitals, what kind of society is emerging?

The care problem has prompted the Royal College of Nursing to call for minimum staffing levels for elderly care.

This study by the King’s Fund criticised the whole approach to elderly care, saying the attitudes and language used suggested staff – particularly doctors – were ageist.

Phrases such as “bed blocker” as well as the fact the elderly did not always receive the same assessments and treatments as younger patients were highlighted.

But, wait for it, the think tank also blamed “the system” –too much work and pressure on meeting targets was compromising care.

It said elderly patients, who make up two-thirds of admissions, often found themselves on the wrong wards and passed around “like parcels” because of the rush to admit them.

Report author Jocelyn Cornwell was quoted as saying something profoundly true: “The health and social care system has failed to keep pace with changing health needs.

“It needs a radical rethink from top to bottom.”

I believe that to be true. No care can be good unless individuals are the focus and not the problem it causes. I fear the latter is the case here.

Our elderly simply deserve better and a modern health service need to be in touch with their needs. It needs to remember that sick elderly people are human too!


Written by debbielq

August 2, 2012 at 7:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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