Care homes shunning residents' needs
Published on 07 March 2012 01:00 PM
The healthcare needs of older people are being sidelined, with only 44% of Britain's care homes reporting regular visits from GPs.
That is according to a report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which found some institutions fail to meet even basic standards.
Published just days after a milestone report called for fundamental change to the care of older people, the CQC revealed the healthcare needs of residents are deemed a 'secondary requirement' in many of Britain's care homes.
The CQC observed the care being delivered to 386 residents in 81 homes within nine PCT areas which were considered at risk of poor performance, and interviewed some residents.
It found that in nearly 40% of establishments, those in need of an initial continence assessment are forced to wait more than two weeks for it.
Meanwhile, a quarter of residents feel they are not given a choice between a male or female assistant when using the toilet.
Amanda Sherlock, CQC director of operations, said: 'While we have identified good practice in areas, this review suggests some providers have fallen short of delivering effective care by considering the healthcare needs of residents as a secondary requirement.
'Despite having a disproportionately high level of dependence on health services, this group appear to be more disadvantaged than the rest of the population in accessing these services.'
The CQC study also highlighted vast geographical differences in treatment - many homes were simply unable to offer access to geriatric specialists.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK Charity Director General commented: ‘The majority of people living in care homes have profound and complex health care needs. The British Geriatrics Society's CQC data analysis reveals that many thousands of residents are failing to receive basic geriatric and community health care from the NHS.
‘Older people who live in care homes should have the same rights to NHS care as anyone else. The failure of almost a quarter of PCTs to take any action to ensure that care home residents have access to adequate GP services is particularly appalling. Commissioners need to ensure all those living in care homes have access to the primary and community care services they need.'
Copyright Press Association 2012