Hospitals 'show ageist attitudes'
Published on 28 March 2012 11:00 AM
Hospitals are failing to provide appropriate care for older patients, according to a new study.
The report published by the King's Fund shows that ageist attitudes result in many patients being passed around hospitals without receiving the right treatment.
According to the study, which is based on patient surveys and evidence from hospital staff, treatable conditions such as incontinence and depression are being ignored.
Some hospitals even fail to test for serious diseases such as cancer and heart problems, the study suggests.
The attitudes and language used by some staff - particularly doctors - are also ageist, the King's Fund said.
The report comes after recent studies from the Patients Association and Care Quality Commission criticised the 'shocking' standards of care for older people.
In response, the Royal College of Nursing has called for the introduction of minimum staffing levels to meet the needs of patients.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said addressing problems in older patient care was a key priority for the NHS.
The NHS reforms are designed to free staff from the obstacles they face in putting patients first, he added.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK Charity Director General, said: 'It is counter-intuitive that health services are not geared up to meet the needs of their largest users, older people.'
'Many older people live with multiple conditions and often have complex care needs. Health services cannot deliver high quality services unless older people are treated as individuals and their care is coordinated. This is what a modern health service needs to deliver.'
Michelle Mitchell continued, 'Care will and has suffered because of the culture behind delivering services. They need to be radically redesigned to reflect their users' needs, and to ensure care is delivered holistically with compassion and not constrained to treating body parts.'
Copyright Press Association 2012